Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Daily Prompt: Lazy Learners

Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn but haven’t gotten around to? What is it and what’s stopping you from mastering the skill?

Amthaus 1, Solothurn

You have never completed your training in life, there is always something you want to learn and even as a golden oldie I do not give up. I remember the time I wanted to learn Arabic. I had managed Russian for 12 years, so why not Arabic. There is a very good reason because I soon discovered that no-one really speaks Arabic, at leat not one single language, they all have their own dialects. The Gulf states speak the nearest to pure Arabic, but as soon a you move over to Algeria, Morocco and Egypt, the Maghreb states, you discover that although the language goes under the name of Arabic, they are all speaking in different dialects and eventually they have difficulties in understanding each other.

Eventually after a year I gave up and decided that Arabic was not my language. I could sort of write it until I discovered that there are two sorts of words, moon and sun. I eventually felt very sorry for Arabic children, wherever they were, having to learn the language, although I am not someone that usually gives up so easily.

And now to what it is all about. I have always wanted to learn how to complete a Swiss tax form, hence the photo of our local Amthaus 1, one of our official buildings in the town of Solothurn. We also have an Amthaus 2 which is a little more modern,  but does not change the fact that Swiss tax forms become easier to complete.

When I entered this country of gnomes, fondue, chocolate and many languages I had no problem. Switzerland did not have so much trust in the foreigners and so my tax was deducted monthly from my earnings. After a year and meeting Mr. Swiss we got married and now it was all a man thing. I must admit I was too busy bringing up the family to concentrate on filling out tax forms and Mr. Swiss did not have time to cook, clean, launder or feed the kids, that was reserved for his week-ends and I was busy doing all the multi tasking.

One day we were both retired and I realised that in the month of March Mr. Swiss was not available for discussions about god and the world. He was online with our tax authorities. Now and again a profanity was uttered. The form was available in a computer programme, so what could possibly go wrong? We had also bought our own place  in the meanwhile to complicate matters which needed more details. I realised that in the month of March the majority of Swiss citizens had only one topic of conversation, if they were available to talk. Of course you can give the problem to an office who will do it all for you, but that would cost money, and let’s face it, the fun is no longer there.

One day I realised that if Mr. Swiss was otherwise occupied (accident, disappeared, left the country etc. etc.) I would be left alone with this tax form. Of course I am computer literate, I realised I  needed more and so I made an appointment with my tax advisor, Mr. Swiss, to learn how to do it. He decided the afternoon would be the best time for him. It was not the best time for me as I would be busy writing daily prompts, but you do everything to keep the man of your life happy, so I sacrificed an afternoon to learn how to do it. Now Mr. Swiss was never pedagogically inclined. He was more interested in showing what he could do, but not so much passing his knowledge on, which was a cue for the first disagreement. He was already talking about things on page 20 when I was still filling out the name and address. I persevered until we got to a point where he had to search and I was waiting and then said “I will have to check on that”. He checked and found the answer, decided it would be too difficult for a beginner like me and so he did it himself. 

Since this memorable day about 2 years ago, it seems my learning curve was neglected. I do know where to find the forms on the computer, although he now has a new computer. We have now made an appointment for next year and I really will try to handle it. Otherwise, in a worst case situation. I have No. 2 son who lives on the other side of Switzerland, but now and again calls past. As he actually works for the Swiss government, he must know how to do it, otherwise perhaps he can use his connections with the Ministry.

Oh the fun of filling out a Swiss tax form.


  1. I am so glad that under the British P.A.Y.E system, my employer does all the tax on my behalf. When I was self-employed, back in the late 1980's, i was required to do my own tax returns. They always gave me a headache!!

    1. The problem in Switzerland is we have so many different taxes, which complicates the whole form. I am glad I have Mr. Swiss, but I know I should also be able to do it.