I’d Never Do That. I Couldn’t.

I’ve always been a risk-taker. Not for others, but for myself, a risk-taker.

Anyone who happens to come along for the ride gets to feel the effects good and bad.

Although she’ll deny it damn convincingly, my mother was also a risk-taker most of her life.

MomzMe

 

She left Korea for America, to give me a better life, and together owned a fruit and vegetable store with my father. I left America for Belgium, for a new life and to start a family, and now own a Korean takeout place called Rice House. Not exactly the same, but lots of risk-taking all over the place between two generations.

Just because you own a business doesn’t mean you’re rich. In fact, it means that you’ve probably invested most of what you had in life savings plus maybe a loan from the bank, and you’re now poorer than you were before. But you own a business! It’s pretty much the coolest thing ever after winning Big Brother and marrying Davy and having Noah, and still having fans who throw me love and support every day in different ways.

The risk is great but I choose to believe in my Korean heart that more often than not, the reward will be greater.

But…and I never thought I’d say this, my American citizenship is proving burdensome. More specifically, the IRS. I don’t understand people who say it’s “so complicated tax-wise” being an American expat anywhere, regardless of the country you were born in, because it’s actually not that complicated. You’re basically fucked. Any income must be paid in your country of residence, and also kicked back to the IRS. Even when I obtain my Belgian citizenship, I’ll be required to send a check to the IRS, plus…

I’m not eligible for a loan. As an American citizen you can’t get a loan in Belgium (and other EU countries I presume but I’m NO tax expert). As a Belgian married to an American citizen, my husband Davy can no longer take out a loan in his own country of birth Belgium. Crazy right?

The thing is, Davy and I haven’t taken out any loans since we’ve been married so we never knew we were ineligible in the first place. Belgians by nature don’t live on credit, unlike most Americans, and so we’ve always lived within our means. When I did my research before moving to Belgium, I didn’t anticipate opening Rice House or taking out loans. Maybe I should have. But maybe I was too busy packing to move here and getting shit translated at the Korean Consulate, and oh well.

And…it turns out Noah, by his American citizenship, is required by law to pay taxes in both countries as well. As soon as he’s old enough to work, he’ll have to pay taxes to a country he’s never even lived in let alone worked in. I guess that’s the cost for admission? Like a grand scale American Buyers Club without the drugs?

I’ve read articles recently, stating alarming numbers of Americans renouncing their citizenships and choosing to live abroad paying taxes where they reside yet cutting ties with the IRS. I’d never do that. I couldn’t. Give up my American citizenship?!

But I can see why some Americans would…

Nevertheless, Davy and I move forward counting pennies to the euro and we’ve made it thus far without a loan from the bank. We’d applied for less than $10,000, small in the grand scheme of starting up a business, yet we were shut down because of my American citizenship. Belgium and America are the best of friends that way it seems. They shut us out like mean girls.

Our accountant recommended something called the Win-Win Loan or WinWinLening open only to Belgians. It’s a 2.5% tax credit for a friend or member of the family who’d would loan money to me and Davy. This all sounded great but Davy and I laughed because we don’t have friends or family in Belgium, with money to invest in Rice House. I can’t imagine asking anyone struggling anyway, to lend us money. But if you do know a Belgian who’s got extra disposable income, then please do tell them about Rice House.

For now, I’m just literally watching every penny going into our business without compromising quality. I figure this is all just stuff to laugh about later. Right?

Always dishing,

Jun

 

 

 

23 Comments

  1. Fabnsab

    It will all be worth it. And you’re smart. You know a lot about business in general and know how to ask questions when you hit a wall. Most restaurants fail because people allow their egos to guide them and they don’t ask and heed advice.

    Reply
  2. Pat

    I had NO idea you would have to pay US taxes! WHYYYY?? Can you get a loan here in the US? The US isn’t helping you start up a business yet they want the money you make? Sorry it just pisses me off. Well, f em…..do your thing girl, it’s going to be great!
    Keep dishing,
    Pat

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      I have so many whys in my head but I’m letting it go for now to get Rice House opened. Ha. It’s exhausting but so fun. Nothing is ever easy. Davy’s been amazing to have by my side :)

      Reply
  3. Raven

    OMG that is insane! if you don’t mind my asking…How much do they require you send back to the IRS. What is amount based on. You have largely been a SAHM for much of Noah life thus far right? I am completely blown away but unfairness. You know how many US citizens that don’t pay a dime to the IRS. Disgusting

    Reply
  4. Every day, I’m learning more and more I don’t like about the USA, the country of my citizenship.

    My stepson lives in Switzerland, and of course, I grilled him for details about living in another country (and told him about your blog)! lol It’s all fascinating to me. At my age, I don’t think I’d move to another country, but the idea is tantalizing.

    Being a small business owner, myself, I completely understand your dilemma. Work, work, work, work, work… and more work, and no one to rely on for BIG help with the exception of my hubby, although we do have a little help, now and then!

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      It’s pretty fascination indeed or I wouldn’t still be living here ha! It’s something new every day :)

      Definitely so much work…balancing work and play is my focus ha!

      Reply
  5. Good heavens! Is there a ‘bottom line’ or do you have to file no matter what? That’s just plain ridiculous!

    Are you considering having investors for Rice House?

    I’m shaking my head at the red tape involved for you to start a small business but then smile when I think of Momz being there soon. Wish I could lay next to you and have her comforting touch. Bliss.

    Reply
      1. Bottom line – I mean do you have to show a profit only or do you have to file either way. I never doubted you holding on to your citizenship.

        Looks like you and Davy have this well in hand. If you do decide on investors, let us know :)

        Is your cash register at home or at the shop? I would be madly playing with it lol

    1. Jun Song Author

      We’re trying to do this on our own as much as we can. It would have been nice to have a bank loan as a cushion, but so far so good. Thank you for the idea!

      Reply
  6. Hope it all comes to fruition for you, Jun. I’m confident you’ll work it all out. You’re smart not to give up your citizenship. I gave up my Canadian citizenship to become an American 2011. Then my husband passed away the next year. If I ever decide I want to go back to Canada, I’d have to do it all over again. I’m here for life, and I’m a VERY proud American, but I wish I’d applied for dual, just in case. …. and the IRS is out of control.

    Reply
  7. Chris

    The IRS makes me so mad I have to calm down just to take this in.

    Davy can’t get a loan in his home country because he married outside his citizenship? That’s like a punishment for cheating? Crazy!

    You will struggle, scrimp, save as you can. This will make it even more rewarding in the end.

    Love you
    Chris

    Reply
  8. suem2

    I have no doubt in my mind that you can and will accomplish anything Jun that comes your way. Nothing will hold you back. Good luck. I’m behind you 100%.

    Reply
  9. Hi Jun, You should talk to an American Tax Lawyer. This is insane! There has to be a way around this! I know the IRS is crazy, but this is beyond. You are not living in the US, therefore not using ANY US services. I don’t think they can tax you. Do more research when you have time. I know that won’t be for awhile :)
    Good Luck.

    Reply

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