Living in Luxembourg: A True Tale of (mis)Adventure

Well, apparently I live in Luxembourg.

Not right now, actually, since I seem to have just returned. But I’ve been a resident there for about a week. Without my knowledge, I might add.

My sudden departure began when I filled out forms with Createspace, the company that does book publishing for Amazon. I’d written my first book and was ready to publish it. To work with them, I had to set up an account. I dutifully filled out my name, address, banking information, and SSN. I signed it electronically and was done.

Except I wasn’t.

I must have typed something incorrectly because Createspace told me the IRS thinks I live in Luxembourg. But I didn’t know this since I hadn’t logged back into my account. There was no reason to. I believed I’d completed my mission.

But apparently I chose a good county, in some ways, to flee to. It seems more expats live there than in any other European nation. Still, I’d have preferred Spain or Italy.

It was just this morning, around 6, that I learned where I was living. Debora Lewis, the woman who laid out my book and does all the technical work regarding uploading and and such, said when she went through Createspace to do it, they told her she couldn’t because I hadn’t finished setting up my out-of-country account.

Well, she is out of country. She’s in Canada. I, to my best knowledge, am right here in Arizona. But not according to the IRS.

I wrote to Createspace. No resolution. So I asked for a callback, and wow! A man named Paul called me immediately. 

I explained the problem. “I’ve never heard of such a situation,” he said. He had me fill out the Createspace form again. I’d already tried that and been stopped because I couldn’t continue without providing the information about my Luxembourg residency. 

He walked me through it but it seems I was still overseas. He was mystified. He put me on hold to talk with a few higher-up folks. When he returned, he apologized and said I had to take it up with the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS. Do you know how impossible it is to try to speak to someone at the IRS? On top of that, who in the world wants to connect with them other than when our taxes are due?

I called. I negotiated their automated system. Repeatedly. And each time (six times) I ended up getting a message saying no one was available. Or they needed more information (followed by “goodbye”). Or some other lame ending that basically cut me off.

I was steaming.

I contacted Createspace again. Then, I finally found an email address for the IRS and sent off a request for help.

I contacted my “local” IRS office in Tucson, nearly 100 miles away. They don’t do that kind of work, it seems, and I was referred back to the IRS 800 number.

And then a miracle! I received a return email from the IRS!!

Well, they don’t help with that via email. Only by telephone. But the automated letter told me exactly what numbers to punch on the automated phone system. So I tried it.

And I got a human!! Glory be. “I’ve never heard of such a situation,” said she. So she sent me over to someone in records. After sitting on hold for quite some time, I got another human!

I explained my whole sad story. And sad it was! I wasn’t even able to enjoy my time in Luxembourg!

“I’ve never heard of such a situation,” said the woman in records. She said it must be a Social Security problem. So I opened my Createspace account and read her what it said, and yes, it said the IRS didn’t find me in the US. Luxembourg was suggested as my place of residence.

She then took all my info and confirmed that I seemed to be who I claimed to be, living in the US. Perhaps suspiciously close to Mexico, but in the US nonetheless.

While I had her on the phone, though, I attempted once again (eighth time) to edit my account on Createspace. I spoke each line aloud to her as I entered my info.

And then it happened. It sent me on to the the second page! The one that had been repeatedly denied me because of where I appeared to be living! I filled out the second page, and I saw, in big yellow letters, VALIDATED. 

Validated! I’m a US citizen! Living in the US!

I got back home from Europe in a split second, just as rapidly as I’d departed a week ago. I wish all my long-distance flights were like that. 

I texted my sister to let her know all was well. She responded that it was mean of me to live in Luxembourg for all that time without letting her know so she could visit. I told her I’d been on a top secret mission and was allowed to tell no one. 

Funny thing is, though, I can’t remember a thing about the whole trip.

Published by Emilie

I'm a retired instructor from a community college where I taught Developmental English and Reading as well as English as a Second Language. I'm also now a published author of a bilingual children's book entitled. Luisa the Green Sea Turtle - Luisa la Tortuga Verde del Mar. It's available from me, through Amazon, and is in a few (more and more each day!) bookstores.

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  1. I don’t suppose you took pictures while you were overseas???? I’m still rather disgusted that you didn’t tell me about the trip so I could visit.

  2. Really pleased you sorted this all out. I had the opposite problem. Even though I’m not American and nor do I live in the US, I had to obtain a tax number from the IRS otherwise I would have been charged 30% ‘withholding tax’ for any books sold on even if these sales weren’t actually in the US!

    1. Crazy, Jack. National laws can be nuts at times, but international? Yikes! Once England extracts itself from the EU, there are people who will be astounded at some of the complexities!

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