They Stole It From Us!

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gollumThey stole it, Precious!

They stole my identity!

So back in December, my health insurance company, that I have through my current employer, was hacked.  My employer sent out lots of emails about the situation, but since I hadn’t noticed anything weird about my health insurance, I just ignored it.

Skip to about three weeks ago.  I received a letter from the IRS in the mail stating that they had received my tax return and that they had to look into some of the information I sent them before processing my refund.

Only problem was that I hadn’t filed my taxes yet.

That night, I tried to file online, only to be rejected because my taxes had “already been filed.”  But how could this be?! Why would someone want to file my taxes?

I also noticed there were two charges on my bank account to an online tax preparation service that I had never ever used before.  It took me a little digging, but I finally discovered the problem had come from the health insurance company hack.  Other people where I work had had similar problems and were unable to file their taxes.

Yesterday, I finally got through to the IRS Identity Theft division where a very nice lady talked me through what I needed to do by the tax deadline, which was today.  I had to send a packet of information with an Identity Theft Affidavit to the IRS, but it might take four months of more for them to investigate my claim.  Basically, I have NO CLUE when I will be getting my tax refund.

And this SUCKS.  Because I did nothing wrong.

Also, this situation affects me more than it normally would because I’m preparing to go on JET in a few months.  I may not be able to get my tax exemption form because you have to give your tax information for 2014.  My coordinator, however, reassured me that people go on JET without the form and have it sent later.  Worst-case scenario, I’ll have to pay Japanese taxes that first year.  Not ideal, especially since I still have bills here to pay.

My tax refund was supposed to go into my savings account as JET Prep Money minus a few hundred to buy myself a new laptop.  So that’s complicated.

On the bright side, I will get my severance package from my employer, and I’ll be able to cash out all of those vacation days and sick days that I’ve accumulated over the past five years.  I just want enough money to take with me to get everything set up and buy house stuff and food until I start getting paid.

This is a nice segue into what I’m thinking about right now: JET APARTMENTS.

I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos of people’s apartment tours and checking out blogs for pictures.  I can’t wait to find out my placement so I can talk to my predecessor and figure out what my housing situation will be like.

Maybe because I’ve had to live in one room with just a bathroom for five years that I’m super excited to be getting a place where I can have a bathroom with a tub and a kitchen.  Even if it’s a small kitchen, IT WILL STILL BE MY OWN KITCHEN.

Seriously, though.  I live in a residence hall, and we have a kitchen on the 4th floor.  Meaning if I want to cook, I have to schlep my stuff up two flights of stairs (I’m on the 2nd floor) and hope that no one else is using it.  It’s a pain if I forget something.  My room itself is somewhat bigger than a normal dorm room (we have super-tall ceilings, too), and I have my own bathroom that has a toilet and shower.  My sink is in my room itself and was made for roommates to share.  Overall, it’s not bad and has been okay since I started working there.  But I’m at the point in my life where I need a kitchen and preferably TWO rooms.

So, really, no matter what setup I get on JET, I’m going to be really excited.  I’m a person who, even if I don’t like a place at first, can make myself at home really quickly.

Other than this stuff, there’s not much on the JET front besides getting in my last paperwork before June.  I have a physical coming up (getting it in before I can’t use my work health insurance anymore), and I need to get started on getting an international driving permit.  I may wait until I hear about my placement, but it’s worth starting the process just in case.

Oh, and I’m working a new J-drama called Algernon ni Hanabata wo 2015. It’s a Japanese version of the story Flowers for Algernon.  I finished my first drama, Ouroboros, as a translator/subtitler just the other day.

At least this will keep me busy while I wait on JET…