27 and a PhD

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Postdoc taxes in Canada and plans

Welcome to my blog!

Hello there, awesome reader. My name is Dr. 27. I'm older than that now, but I'm staying faithful to the origins of the blog.

This blog started 2 months before completing my PhD in a pretty southern university back in 2009. It was a way to practice my writing and take a break from all things thesis. My PhD is in a branch of structural biology where I studied some rather impressive stuff.

After completing the degree, I packed my life of 6 years in 3 days and moved to Canada to do a postdoc in a completely different field. Two years later, and after attending a lot of seminars, workshops and doing some much-needed soul-searching, I ended up getting out and looking for an alternative path to academia and industry.

The blog chronicles my mishaps, ideas, musings and tips on entering, staying and finishing grad school. It also talks about some (or a lot) of personal stuff. For a while, the blog became a place to talk about the frustrations of not knowing what to do after PhD. I wanted to explore alternatives to the traditional paths of research (academia, industry and goverment) whilst going back to my field of training (if at all possible). Eventually a job materialized. Follow my quest as I navigate the waters of being a staff scientist at a core facility.

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I know that during the last couple of weeks I’ve been a bit silent. Since the BF and I purchased the Wii most of our time has been devoted to that little (and awesome) machine (hehe), thus my blogging time has been drastically reduced. Also, I had been doing tons of protein purification, and by the end of the day the last thing I wanted to do was to sit down and write about science, or life, or both. I think I mentioned that my job got renewed (yay!). This is great, as it means I will go on a summer vacation with the BF. More importantly, it means I get to keep on learning, and also the project I’m working on stays in my hands.

So, what’s new you might ask (besides the points I’ve mentioned before). Well, this week I’m finally doing my taxes. For whatever reason my W2 form from the States got lost, so I had to contact my old department, ask for a new form, wait for it to get here and finally call the tax people to do the US and Canadian taxes. Turns out, you can never escape the IRS. And it doesn’t matter if you don’t live in the US anymore, you still need to file taxes on your foreign income. Now, I don’t want to be taxes twice, and it may not need to be like that. But I am not celebrating yet. Once the taxes from both countries are filed I hope to cover some of the details here, so the blogosphere knows what happens when you file taxes as a postdoc in Canada (I my try to find from other bloggers in my same situation how things worked for them).

I’ve done my math, and I’ve saved about 1/5th of my income for tax purposes. I based this on accounts of other postdocs in the lab, as well as that of a friend who’s been doing postdoc taxes for a number of years now. I’ve checked online calculators that estimate the provincial and federal taxes to pay, and it looks like I may have some money left, but since I’m not Canadian, I don’t know how Canada Revenue will act on my case. I would like for some money to be left over, and while doing a quick web search for postdocs in my same situation I have no found anything concrete yet. But I do plan on doing an entry on how my tax prep session was. One cool thing is that the due date for US taxes gets extended by 60 days if you’re abroad, but I have to file that for also. We’ll see.

The future plans (besides doing the taxes) are to a) stop saving for taxes for a little while and increase my payments to the credit cards as much as possible, b) if there’s some leftover money I want to get a new watch and set some money aside to pay for my vacation trip (or money for paying for the trip itself, you know airfare and lodging), c) set some money aside so that I can use it for my graduation trip which is fast approaching, and d) set some money aside to go to the gym and start working towards one of my goals for 2010 which is/was to drop some of the weight!

We’ll see how it goes. I know I can deduct certain things and I hope that saving all those receipts from the big move will help. I shall report soon enough with the tax results.

Till then, take care 🙂

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