Thursday, July 24, 2008

closet games...

yesterday I was feeling down at the gym, maybe cause it was leg day, ugh I hate leg day... well I had heard some news about our boss scheduling our return to the states and that he may not be cooperative in delaying my ticket.
I am trying to contact a TAX LAWYER now for some verification on my tax exemption.
I THOUGHT I had to stay out of the country for 330 days for the tax exemption and don't want to lose the money by going back early. However someone on base is telling me that you can go home, then leave again, just stay away for 330 days of the year.... so I'm confused and don't want to do the wrong thing.... either way I'm still traveling to Africa in October, although going home to turn in my gear first would mean not lugging it around europe.
well I was a bit down in the dumps while working out and I started thinking about the whole gay thing, and how I had some things to say to my dad, and how much I love my parents, and how hard it would be to stay over here another year away from my family.
oh yeah and on my personal blog I put up a pic of me with the drawings my niece and nephew sent me on the wall of my barracks, and I wrote how nice they were to hang up since I never had any children. I know, doesn't that sound defeatest, but also a sort of passive aggressive signal to the family that I'm probably never having kids.
I thought about the comments lately about the whole what is gay, and the masculinity issue, and how it's judged, and I wanted to tell readers, that if I was outed today here on base or back home, I wouldn't change much in my life. I'm comfortable with my masculinity, my body, my life, who I am, gay or not. i wouldn't suddenly be going out having a high time at gay bars. I'd probably just be a bit more honest when I traveled about where i went or who I saw maybe...? but I'm comfortable with the person I am right now, in or out of the closet.
I do post a lot about gay identity because I think it's a good discussion and I know i used to have a BIG fear of it in highschool and college what i'd be seen like and thought of, but I am already gelled now and really like who I am regardless.
main struggle here is just my identity by faith first, not by who I'm sleeping with. like I've said before.
I was just thinking of this fantasy last night where I'm having this big fabulous Christmas party in a great room in some new house (I bought the best handmade ornaments in India a few months ago), and I've invited all my family and friends, those from church and my gay friends, and the food is awesome, and people are mixing, and maybe I sit down at the piano and we sing some some carols. ANd then I thought how it'd be nice to have a prayer before the meal, and if I led that prayer how I'd want my wife holding my hand for confidence, and overall support throughout the event.
I guess it's hard to imagine some dude like that. I can't have it all but have to be one person not two or three. ha


JX said...


Great post--I feel you, totally. I believe the world needs more examples of "normal" men who happen to be gay but are not defined by being gay any more so than straights are defined by being straight. I hope for you the same I wish for myself, that someday you may be that kind of person.

My heart is heavy reading you're fantasy--what a piercing thought. I DO believe it is possible, but you might have to pave the way. Anyway, peace to you!

justabamaguy said...

Enjoyed your post Dan...I'm still pondering how I feel about what you wrote. It's very thought provoking. Hope all is going well with you in your world...don't be a stranger on AIM okay?

Anonymous said...

Ok Dan, I have wanted to ask you for a long time to go into your Blogger preferences and check the box that allows your readers to maximize the comment window so we don’t have to scroll through a tiny window to read long comments like the following. Sorry for the length. You don’t have to get all worked up and spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a tax attorney. I think the following is straight forward and easy to understand. The two questions I have about your work is if you are considered self employed or an employee of the company that recruited you? And is your housing free or do you get some kind of housing allowance from the recruiter that is some how paid to the military? The point is if you are paying for the housing (even if it just an accounting paper trick) that it is also tax deductible. If you decide to work another year it sounds like you might be self employed, if not already, so be aware that you can deduct housing from your gross income (different than the housing exclusion), certain travel (business expenses) and that your social security tax is not a part of the foreign income exclusion, you will be responsible for the entire amount not just the typical half (pay it quarterly).

You must meet one of two qualification tests to claim the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. You must meet either the #1 bona fide residence test OR the #2 physical presence test.
#1 Bona Fide Residence Test
-One Full Year of Residence
You are considered a "bona fide resident" of the foreign country if you reside in that country for "an uninterrupted period that includes an entire tax year." A tax year is January 1 through December 31. The qualifying period for the bona fide residence test MUST include one full calendar year.
-Trips outside the Foreign Country
Brief trips or vacations outside the foreign country will not jeopardize your status as a bona fide resident, as long as the trips are brief and you clearly intended to return to the foreign country. You can even make brief trips to the United States.
-Statement to Foreign Authorities
You will not be considered a bona fide resident of a foreign country if you have submitted a statement to the foreign country that you are not a resident of that country, and the foreign government has determined that you are not subject to their tax laws as a resident.
-Tax Treaty
Special treatment of income under an income tax treaty will not prevent you from meeting the bona fide residence test.

#2 Physical Presence Test
You are considered physically present in a foreign country (or countries) if you reside in that country (or countries) for at least 330 full days in a 12-month period. You can live and work in any number of foreign countries, but you must be physically present in those countries for AT LEAST 330 FULL days.
-Full Day defined
A "full day" is 24 hours. So, the day you arrive and the day you leave the country are generally NOT counted towards the physical presence test.
-12-Month Period
The qualifying period can be any consecutive 12-month period of time (unlike the bona fide resident test = Jan 1st to Dec 31st). You do not have to begin your qualifying period with your first day in a foreign country. You can choose a 12-month period that provides the greatest income exclusion. You can count both vacation and business days spent in the foreign country towards meeting the 330 day minimum.
-Travel Outside the Foreign Country
Travel outside of the foreign country generally won't jeopardize your 330 full days. The IRS explains it this way, "You can move about from one place to another in a foreign country or to another foreign country without losing full days. If any part of your travel is not within any foreign country (flying over international waters) and takes less than 24 hours, you are considered to be in a foreign country during that part of travel." (Source: Publication 54, section on the physical presence test.)
Exceptions to the time requirements
The minimum time requirements for both the bona fide and physical presence tests can be waived. The only valid reason for a waiver is that you are forced to leave the foreign country because of "war, civil unrest, or similar adverse conditions." You should be able to prove that you would have met the time requirements if adverse conditions had not prevented your stay.
Prohibition on Travel to Cuba
Time spent residing or working in Cuba will not qualify for the bona fide residence or physical presence tests.

***Prorated Exclusion***
Under the physical presence test, you can choose ANY consecutive 12-month period to qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion. You would then prorate your maximum exclusion by the amount of days you were physically present during the tax year. The pro-rated exclusion is worth a maximum of $265.45 per full day spent in a foreign country (using the 2008 amount $87,600). Your pro-rated exclusion amount may not exceed the maximum allowable exclusion.

So, Dan I can’t remember exactly when you left the US, but lets say your first FULL day outside the US was in Oct of 2007 and you remain outside of the US for at least 330 days in a 12 month period until Oct 2008, then you can go back and file an amended 2007 tax return claiming the foreign income exclusion using the prorating method at $259.70/ full day spent outside of the US (2007 amount $85,700/330 days). Then you would prorate your 2008 income exclusion by a rate of $265.45/day. However, if you stay outside of the US until Dec. 31, 2008 based out of Kabul, then your 2008 tax year status should be evaluated under the bona fide residence test (see above), which would allow you a brief visit home for the holidays without prorating (just get back to Kabul before Dec. 31st), and some other trips. You just have to be able to show intention of returning to Kabul (under the bona fide test), like having an employment contract for services provided in Kabul through Dec. 31st or beyond.

You may also qualify for a prorated exclusion if you intended to meet all the time requirements but you left the country due to civil unrest. According to IRS Instructions for Form 2555,

Hope this helps Dan.

dan said...

Anon, THANKS that does help.
it sort of confirms what I'd thought, that since I arrived here Dec 9th, I should not return to the US until November 9th, which is what I plan to do.
my boss asked us to come back sep 15th to return the army gear to the base, but I think I will refuse and go on my own dime on the way back to return the gear.
I lose my 330 consecutive days if return before then and leave again as I understand it.
thanks again for the comment.

Jake Walsor said...

hey buddy - like i said before and like i say now too - you will always be you, in or out of the closet. i dont see why people change after they come out of the closet - you will always be the same - the only thing you need to worry about is people's perception towards you changing ( only the people that mean a lot to you ). and just show them that nothing is different. and people whom you dont care about - tell them to go and freaking look at themselves in the mirror. and about the niece and nephew making drawings for you - my niece and cousins do the same for me - and i hang them up as well. but i was thinking about this the other day - i think we think so much about kids than a straight would - cos we are gay. and somewhere we think it will be hard to have our own kids. cos trust straights guys our age do not think so much about kids. and hopefully if you do decide to come out of the closet - ur parents and people who mean a lot to you will love you so much that they wont care that you are gay and will be very proud of you and love the man standing next to you holding your hands.

Mikey said...

My thought is that, because of where you've lived (OKC), your interaction with the "gay community" has been limited. Therefore, your perception of what life "out of the closet" could be like is limited. With more time and interaction with more gay folks, you'll learn that what you dream of is indeed possible, but maybe not in OKC, but it also may not be perfect. But straight folks seldom have perfect lives either. My best friend and his partner have been together 25 years. He is very involved in his (Episcopal) church. My partner and I (10 years together) host his extended family for dinners at our house. My parents (preacher and wife) and my brother are not thrilled about me being gay, but my sister is fine with it, and she and her husband, and one of her daughters and her husband have all stayed with us on a couple of weekends. Some of my friends fit the "nellie" stereotype, but many don't. My partner and I were amazed when we went to a straight co-workers house for a party, that she had more gay folks at her party than we usually have at ours. So in some places, the dividing line between a "gay community" and "the real world" is getting very gray. Which I think is great. I always assume when I talk to folks that they know that I'm gay, so there's never a big "coming out" speech, or anything like that, it's just that I happen to live with my male partner, just like they happen to live with a husband or wife. And it seems more and more that folks are okay with that. Or maybe I just don't surround myself with folks who aren't.
You're blog often, as this one does, has very thought provoking things. Keep writing, and living your life with as much joy as possible.