Thursday, March 30, 2006

Tax Returns for Indian Students in California

I happen to attend a small seminar on the basics of filing your tax returns in California state. For people who are totally confused what is what, this might be a good start. Please note the information given here might not be accurate.

Go ahead if you are,
1. An Indian citizen, who came to California on F1 visa (I am not sure if the rules below will apply to other states)
2. Earn your wages through Research/Teaching Assistanceship -( I am not sure if the rules below will apply to Fellowship candidates)
3. Have no other sources of income in America
4. Have no investments in stocks, bonds etc
5. Do not owe a business
6. Do not have to claim theft, loss or Charity deductions.

  • The wages you earn and *received* in a financial year - 1st Jan - 31st Dec is the taxable wage for that year. Note if you receive your pay for Dec 05 in Jan 06, do not include that in your tax return for 2005.
  • Usually your employer 'withholds' certain amount of money, which is meant for tax. Your job now is to check at the end of the year when you know yout exact income, that if the total money withheld was more or less. (See Next Point)
  • From every Job that you have, you need to take a W2 receipt from your employer, which tells you exactly how much you earned and how much of it was withheld. This information is most critical and used to fill all the forms.
  • You pay/file return for two administrative organizations - The State of california using the form 540NR and the Federal Government using forms 8843, 1040NR, (and 1042).
  • For the purpose of Federal Tax Returns, if you have been here for less than 5 years you are a NON RESIDENT ALIEN.
  • For the purpose of State Govt, I am not sure if you are a Resident or a Non Resident Alien.
  • The interest you earn on bank accounts is non taxable only if you filled a form W8BEN while opening the bank account (which most of us did unknowingly, thanks to the bank but you should confirm.).
  • There is a tax treaty between India and America that $5000 of your income is non taxable, which you can claim as deduction only if you signed the tax treaty form (8233 I think) before the end of the year.
  • I think for the people on fellowship its the 1042s form/receipt they get from the university instead of W2 - though I am not sure about this.
  • So when you have the form ready, just see the instructions and fill it ;-).. its simple. Make sure you do it before 15th of April of the next Year. For tax return of 2006, do it before 15th April 2007.
  • For people at UCSD, the International Center Provides a software, CINTAX, which automatically fills the federal tax return forms for you. You still need to fill the state tax return forms yourself.

Happy Taxing.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Book Reviews Jan-Mar 2006

I wanted to develop a habbit of reading from long time, but it was only that I came here I was able to give it its due importance. I am happy to see unlike my most of the unsucessful conversions from 'Wanting' to 'Experiencing', this is one 'Want' I am able to 'Experience'.

1. Conversations with God - Part 2 - Neale Donald Walsch.
Rating: ***--
He has an interesting way of putting things forward. In this part two he talk more about time and space, love and war, sex and as he puts it planetary geopolitical considerations. The ideas are pompous and utopian, and many are the common accepted utopian solutions to the world problems, but interesing read because he tries to build all his logic from the platform he created in book one. The author believes in 'iterate, iterate, iterate and then iterate' way of learning, so the ideas are repetitive in the book which can make it bit dull. Part I was better than II, lets see whats store in part III where he talks about more universe, aliens life and other metaphysical issues.

"You can tell you are on your way to mastery when you see the gap closing between willing and experiencing"

"If you spend your time trying to figure out whats 'best' for you, your choices will be cautious, your decisions will take forever and your journey will be launced on a sea of expectations"

2. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Rating ****-
I wanted to read this book from a long time, had heard a lot about it - about the way he has made an unbelivable story seemingly possible. A tale of a boy and a tiger, and their ordeal in the sea. The story gets a bit too abstract at the end but thats the whole point. Where does one draw the line between possible and impossible. The depection of the issues and the psychological state of a castaway is amazingly interesting. It makes you think about the potentials of human body and how caught up we are in the daily lives and petty things to miss life itself.

3. The Roots of Ayurveda - Dominik Wujastyk
Rating ***--
As a member of UDAI, an organisation which is commited to promoting awareness towards social issues concerning India and providing a platform for synergizing active effort for their remediation, and currently being involved in a project on Ayurveda, this book was an effort to study the history and foundations of it. Having negligible knowledge on the subject this book was was a good start as it does not really talk about the treatments and philosophies of Ayurveda but highlights the main texts that have been preserved through ages - Charak Samhita, Susruta Samhita, Bower Manuscript, Kasyapa's Samhita, Vagbhata's Heart of Medicine and Sarngadhara's Compendium. It gives a brief synopsis of their content and the ideas contained in them not only related to treatment per se, but Ayurveda as a way of life.

4. Ayurveda and Panchakarma - Sunil V Joshi (In Progress)

5. Thoughts Without a Thinker - Mark Epstein (Just Started)

Friday, March 17, 2006


I am bit perplexed by this instance, more so a thought twister. Its bit confusing from a point of view, and the confusion is about time. If two people see the same thing at the same *time*, then can they be seperated by time? Einsteins apart, the answer is seems to be negative. How can two people see the same thing at the same time and still be seperated by time? For this either the thing that they are seeing must be existing all through the time difference, the two people are experiencing or else that its limited by time or so to say is beyond time. This would also probably bring in the concept of different time frames for different object and that time is not uiversal. BUT a brirds eye view makes this possible.

It was evening here and I was sitting by the beach viewing the beautiful sunset on the pacific ocean and my friend in India with a nightout was able to see the sunrise at the same time, so effectively we both, though seperated by time, were seeing the same sun (if its the same and there are no parallel universe) at the same time.

Well the catch is that the time frames we have attached to out world and when we say America is 12 hours behind India, it actually is misleadin cus in the universal time frame America is not seperated by India timewise.

just amusing.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Wikipedia Wikipedia Wikipedia

Wikipedia Wikipedia Wikipedia, I love Wikipedia
Wikipedia Wikipedia Wikipedia, I love Wikipedia
Wikipedia Wikipedia Wikipedia, I love Wikipedia
Wikipedia Wikipedia Wikipedia, I love Wikipedia
Wikipedia Wikipedia Wikipedia, I love Wikipedia
Wikipedia Wikipedia Wikipedia, I love Wikipedia
Wikipedia Wikipedia Wikipedia, I love Wikipedia
Wikipedia Wikipedia Wikipedia, I love Wikipedia
Wikipedia Wikipedia Wikipedia, I love Wikipedia
Wikipedia Wikipedia Wikipedia, I love Wikipedia

Thanks Wikipedia. :-)