Sunday, September 1, 2013

Goals, Momentum and Fapiao

I said I was going to bed. Of course I did. And then I created a spreadsheet to track my finances this year, read more email, posted some more links, downloaded my completed US tax paperwork, put away some laundry, began another blog post…

And didn’t you just blog a couple days ago? What is this about Jenny?

I just don’t stop. That’s still something I haven’t quite gotten the hang of. Learning to stop. The light switch is either on, or off. No light switch raves. Coasting in the middle isn’t really how I do things most of the time.

It’s funny, because I just read a post about setting bigger goals: and the limits of self-censorship:
Both of which are incredibly relevant to where I’m at – need to stretch myself more and stop freaking keeping my mouth shut. It’s not good for me to stop talking. Well – ok that’s a mixed bag. Any way.

On the one hand, I think taking on China in my second year of teaching, and some of the other side projects I’ve got cooking, whether or not I’ve brought them up on here, illustrate some pretty big goals, actually. I’m finally being less of a wimp again.

On the other hand, my voice is still subdued. My writing is still self-censored. It will continue to be – but I am fighting for middle ground.

Tonight I put together my first fapiao paperwork with a neighbor’s help. Fapiao is an official Chinese tax receipt. A fapiao will have an official red stamp. After a purchase or meal you will probably have to take your regular receipt and then go to a separate counter, or otherwise ask for an official fapiao. Be sure you have your company’s name written in Chinese when you get this issued. You will also have to sign the back and/or get a chop made to stamp the back of your fapiao for verification.

There are several categories, we have to learn the Chinese characters to recognize which is which on our fapiao receipts. There are two types of forms that encompass the 4-6+ categories in different ways. The idea is basically you submit a bunch of receipts from living expenses: restaurants, taxis, other transport, rent, food (not grocery, that’s a different category when taken in translation and does not count), telecommunication… I guess it’s kind of like itemizing for US taxes, but it’s monthly and a little different.

A few colleagues have earned the knickname ‘fapiao’ because they are constantly collecting as many tax receipts as they possibly can in an effort to avoid taxes. Though, it can be counterproductive – you have to spend more than you’d pay in tax in order to get the full eligible tax break. So really, just go about your business but collect your receipts meticulously. And if you have a friend who doesn’t use a certain kind of fapiao because their contract is different – get them to collect those for you.

And I thought my US tax filing was confusing.

I am nervous. Earlier today I think I might have been more nervous than for starting last year. I don’t know. I do know I have a lot more support and a lot more resources. I also know I’m finally setting forward on some goals that have been backburnered for some time now.

I guess we shall see. But take it easy there, Jenny. You’re still checking your watch when people ask how long you’ve been in Shanghai.

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