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Old 01-23-2013, 07:01 AM   #21
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since this is my first year i plan to put "FIRE"
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:11 AM   #22
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Think about it.

If you're employed, you'll have a W2 attached.

If you have your own business, you had better file a Schedule C.

Any occupation other than retired or unemployed will make the IRS wonder if you are running a cash business and failing to declare income - not good!

(I see Alan already mentioned the suspiciously missing W2)
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:00 AM   #23
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:27 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by AWeinel View Post
Just put retired... I am a retired CPA. Don't put investment advisor.

ALSO, put your status as of 12/31/2012. Since you pulled the plug on or before that date, put retired.
With all due respect, why not write in whatever you wish (within reason)? As has been noted, "retired" can have a negative connotation in certain venues.
And as to status on Dec 31st, I do not see the logic. Would an out of w#rk architect put "unemployed" though still seeking w#rk his/her their field?
(Of course, pardon me for mentioning "logic" in connection with any gov't forms)
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:32 AM   #25
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I may be wrong but I wouldn't think the IRS is too concerned about the occupation unless there is a mistake or they are doing an audit. I think the reason they want to know this is more for statistical purposes.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:00 AM   #26
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I always thought that in addition to statistical interests, the IRS could be checking to see if your salary was in line with your occupation. For example, if one listed "part time convenience store cashier" and yet the W-2 indicated $650,000 annual salary, they might want to call the taxpayer in for an audit.

So, in 2009 I listed my occupation as "oceanographer" because I didn't retire until November 9th. From 2010 on, I have listed it as "retired oceanographer".

I do not think the IRS would give a second thought as long as one paid the tax on that $650,000. However, if you listed your occupation as CFO of a major bank and you claimed a salary of $20,000, you might get a letter requesting an explanation.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:40 AM   #27
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I do not think the IRS would give a second thought as long as one paid the tax on that $650,000. However, if you listed your occupation as CFO of a major bank and you claimed a salary of $20,000, you might get a letter requesting an explanation.
Good point!
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:03 PM   #28
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I may be wrong but I wouldn't think the IRS is too concerned about the occupation unless there is a mistake or they are doing an audit. I think the reason they want to know this is more for statistical purposes.
A note of caution to some. The 1040 is often used to document your income (if you apply for credit, some type of government program, etc) or perform a background check. This could theoretically make an impact on someone reviewing your file, if, for example, you stated your occupation as retired on your 1040 then had to show the 1040 to someone to whom you looking employed (or busy or "looking for work") might be beneficial.

You want to make your story and paper trail consistent.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:07 PM   #29
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When I first came to the USA in '87 it was a temporary assignment and for the first 5 years the company insisted that their tax accountants from Deloitte prepared our tax returns, which was to protect the company's interests, but was a very nice benefit as we had our house rented out in the UK plus other complications as a UK Expat working in the USA.

They always put down Executive as occupation, even though I was very much an engineer in a very technical role, and certainly not on the company's Executive pay scales. When I transferred here permanently and started doing my own taxes I just continued putting down Executive as my occupation.
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:05 PM   #30
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I used to use "Mom" Couldn't stomach "Housewife". Guess I could still use that even though kids are grown. A Mom never retires :-)
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:27 PM   #31
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What do you put for occupation on your 1040 form.
I put "unemployed." It's accurate without giving information they don't require.
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Old 01-23-2013, 04:57 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by packrat44 View Post
I do not think the IRS would give a second thought as long as one paid the tax on that $650,000. However, if you listed your occupation as CFO of a major bank and you claimed a salary of $20,000, you might get a letter requesting an explanation.
+1

Well, they may pay him a visit in person, if the CFO's income gets reduced to $20,000 taxable income after all deductions!

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Unfortunately, the rest of the world is less willing to celebrate our retirement than we are.

Putting "retired" on application forms can make it harder to get visas to visit some countries (including to the US) or be granted bank credit or given access to some investment products (YMMV depending on where you live).
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I put "unemployed." It's accurate without giving information they don't require.
I do not think the IRS cares, but foreign embassies might worry about letting bums into their countries. So, I think that "unemployed" would raise a red flag. An "under-age" early retiree may have enough problems explaining himself.

I have not visited a country that requires an American citizen to have a visa, so do not know for sure. However, I have read blog of a young Canadian RV'er in her 30s whose part-time work status caused her some problems in getting long stays in the US. She was once limited to only a 1-month stay. I did not know that it was that big a deal, and thought that any Canadian would be allowed to visit the US for 180 days, and vice versa.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:56 PM   #33
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:32 PM   #34
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I do not think the IRS cares, but foreign embassies might worry about letting bums into their countries. So, I think that "unemployed" would raise a red flag. An "under-age" early retiree may have enough problems explaining himself.

I have not visited a country that requires an American citizen to have a visa, so do not know for sure. However, I have read blog of a young Canadian RV'er in her 30s whose part-time work status caused her some problems in getting long stays in the US. She was once limited to only a 1-month stay. I did not know that it was that big a deal, and thought that any Canadian would be allowed to visit the US for 180 days, and vice versa.
I haven't done any international travel (other than fishing trips to Canada) since REing in 2006. But I think that for tourist travel to non-visa countries, your employment status is absolutely inconsequential. Having a squeaky clean criminal record and lotsa money to spend makes you popular though......

For visa countries (I used to visit China once a quarter), I wouldn't worry about what my 1040 form said about my "occupation" when filling out the visa application. They don't see your 1040. I'd fill out the visa application stating "retired tourist."

It is what it is. I was canned by MegaCorp in 2006 and haven't done a bit of compensated work since. I'm among the long term unemployed. Damn, I've been having a good time though!
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:26 PM   #35
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Other than one time going to Victoria BC, I do not remember ever being asked about my occupation when visiting a non-visa country. In some European countries, the sullen immigration officer just stamped my passport without saying much more than "Hello" and "Bye". Mexico would just wave everybody through at the border, no question asked. They only stop Hispanic looking people.

And the last time I entered Canada with an RV, they cared more to make sure I did not bring too much booze into their country. Booze is expensive there due to taxes. They asked about cash too, for some reasons.

I have not filled out any visa application. Of course they would not see my 1040. However, I would put down "retired" but not "unemployed". For a retiree is of course unemployed, but an unemployed may not be retired. One implies FI and the other does not. One has money, and the other may not. And of course it's the money you are going to spend that's they all want. You've got to admit one has a negative connotation, and why use it if you qualify for the other?

Or perhaps some countries just do not care either way. Would China or India care if you are going to overstay your visa to enjoy their free healthcare? (Do they have it? I don't really know!)
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:01 PM   #36
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I have not filled out any visa application. Of course they would not see my 1040. However, I would put down "retired" but not "unemployed".
As you hint at, we seem to be interchanging 1040 forms and visa applications. Very different. I'm comfortable entering "unemployed" on my 1040 because I consider myself among the long term unemployed and that status has been beneficial to me as compared to being "retired." But on a visa application, I'd fill it out (likely with professional help depending on the circumstance) with whatever truthful information would get the job done.
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For a retiree is of course unemployed, but an unemployed may not be retired. One implies FI and the other does not.
Dunno about that one. I'm FI per all the usual standards discussed here. But I consider myself among the long term unemployed. I did look for work for a while after I was canned. I collected unemployment compensation. The ''deciders," the government and DW, declared me unemployed, FI or not.

I have been referring to myself as "retired" on this board but it's been sort of a backward looking thing. I can't remember a specific moment over the years since I've worked where I declared myself "retired" as opposed to unemployed. I was FI before I got canned though and continue to be so. Hence I've often said here that I've been RE'd since 2006 when MegaCorp booted my sorry ass. I was FI and didn't need to work. But, for a while, I collected unemployment compensation and looked for work. It's a grey area I guess.
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You've got to admit one has a negative connotation, and why use it if you qualify for the other?
Maybe that's why I use it on my 1040. I'm an "unemployed" factory worker with a family struggling to survive in these tough economic times and needing every bit of help I can get!
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:07 AM   #37
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Hmm... I have never made any claim for unemployment.

I had been doing sporadic part-time independent and consulting (job shop) work since late 2002, but during the periods when I goofed off, I did not actively look for work either.

Well, prior to that, there was a time when I along with founding members of a small business labored for no pay because we needed to pay rents, taxes, utilities, insurance, vendors, and our junior employees first. I guess our status then was "employed but not paid". A nice thing about that status was that we did not have to worry about income tax! That lasted more than 2 years, I think.

It was a traumatic period in my life that has become a black hole. I seriously could not pinpoint where it started and where it ended. I guess I should be able to go back to look at our tax records to look for periods of zero income from me, and my wife had to feed me.
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:32 AM   #38
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Hmm... I have never made any claim for unemployment.

.
That's not very patriotic.

A decent severance package plus unemployment + extended unemployment benefits make a nice start to (what eventually turns out to be) early retirement!

Boy, have we hijacked this thread off of the original "what occupation Do you put on your 1040 form" beginning!
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:44 AM   #39
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No, we are still talking about what one should put down on the 1040, and very much on topic.

Come to think of it, perhaps the arrangement was that we, the "employed for no pay" senior members (who were owners of the business) did pay ourselves barely enough to cover the payroll deduction for health insurance. It was for accounting purposes. I really do not remember now, but that seems to make sense.

Hmmm... Somehow that did not cause any trouble with the IRS computer, unusual as it looked.
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:48 AM   #40
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To be serious for just a moment (yes, I know I shouldn't) but I always read that line to be synonymous with "profession", which, for many of us remains the same regardless of our employment status. These are mostly things that require specific qualifications and/or education -- programmer, technician, engineer, teacher, doctor, lawyer, and professor all come to mind.
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