100 Ways To Get Rejected: Petition For The Rectification Of The 1973 Romanian-US Tax Treaty

What’s this 100 Ways To Get Rejected challenge about? Check this introductory post to find out.

I’m starting to get the hang of petitioning: I’ve petitioned yesterday the Ministry of Communications and Informational Society for the implementation of a national Public Transportation API and today I’m going to petition the government at http://gov.ro/en/contact (it was easy to find their email address for petitions) for the rectification of the old, 1973 tax treaty with America. My reason? I’m being charged a 30% Tax Withholding on the royalties resulting from the sale of my book, “A Story on the Camino“; Amazon is already taking another 30% for the Kindle version of my book and 40% for the paperback version so I’m left with next to nothing. This is why I’m petitioning for this seemingly disadvantageous tax treaty.

I need to know about what to write in my petition so I have to do some fact checking and have some data. Upon checking out the text of the treaty which can be found on the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-trty/romania.pdf I found out that the Article 12 referring to royalties states that “Royalties derived by a resident of one of the Contracting States from sources within the other Contracting State shall not be taxed by the other Contracting State at a rate in excess of 10 percent of the gross amount of cultural royalties or at a rate in excess of 15 percent of the gross amount of industrial royalties” and cultural royalties are defined as “Cultural royalties are payments of any kind made as consideration for the use of, or the right to use, copyrights of literary, artistic, or scientific works, including copyrights of motion picture films or films or tapes used for radio or television broadcasting;”
Hmm…so the tax for cultural royalties is 10% and not 30% as Amazon is charging me. What’s going on? Is Amazon intentionally ignoring an international treaty? So I go back to Amazon and try to figure out what’s going on.

On Amazon’s website (https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201274690) it states that for Non-US publishers “Royalty payments for sales on the U.S. store are subject to 30% U.S. tax withholding” unless “their country of permanent residence has an income tax treaty with the United States”. But this is not all, there is something more. “To qualify for reduced withholding, you must enter an income tax identification number (TIN) in the U.S. tax information interview. If you have a U.S. TIN, you must provide this number. If you do not have a U.S. TIN, you may enter the income tax identification number issued to you by the tax authority in your country of residence.” So, basically, even if your country has or not a tax treaty with the US you will be subjected to a 30% TAX Withholding unless you have a US TIN or its equivalent in your country of residence.

I have to offer an additional explanation: I created my 100 Ways to Get Rejected List during a brainstorm and the most important rule in a brainstorm is to write down whatever idea crosses your mind, even if it’s crazy, bizarre, impossible and so on. Well, when I thought to add this petition to the list I was thinking about this several months old problem with Amazon that had something to do with an old tax treaty; in other words, I only had a hazy idea but I put it down in writing nonetheless. Somehow, during the past several months, it seems that in my memory the problem had metamorphosed into something else, the issue is not with the tax treaty, it’s actually with the tax identification number – a problem that I clearly haven’t solved back then for some reason.

After a quick search (https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/tin/pdf/en/TIN_-_country_sheet_RO_en.pdf) I find out that’s actually quite easy to obtain your Romanian TIN, there are many ways in which you can do it, you can get it from your passport, from your identity card, your driving license, from the Certificate for Tax Information.

In the end, instead of petitioning the government for a new tax treaty with the US I take again the Amazon Tax Information Interview, add my Romanian TIN and hope for the best. I’m actually writing this post on the go, writing after doing each of the aforementioned steps so a few minutes after writing my last sentence I got my interview and my newly submitted information automatically approved and validated – I was expecting a lengthier process – and I got my Tax Withholding down to 10%.

100 Ways To Get Rejected: Petition For The Rectification Of The 1973 Romanian-US Tax Treaty
100 Ways To Get Rejected: Petition For The Rectification Of The 1973 Romanian-US Tax Treaty

100 Ways To Get Rejected: Petition For The Rectification Of The 1973 Romanian-US Tax Treaty

100 Ways To Get Rejected: Petition For The Rectification Of The 1973 Romanian-US Tax Treaty

Well, this is the story of a rejection that fortunately never happened.

100 Ways To Get Rejected: Petition For A National Public Transportation API

What’s this 100 Ways To Get Rejected challenge about? Check this introductory post to find out.

While I was doing some research for a travel app I discovered that there are no cities in Romania that offer a Public Transportation API (PTA). What’s PTA? it’s basically public data that is accessible to anyone on the Internet, data about the public transportation system such as timetables, fares and routes. I initially thought at petitioning the mayor and searched for contact details on the city hall’s website but after doing some more research and learning more about the OpenData initiative (https://opendata.swiss) which is a joint project between the Swiss cantons and various organizations – I realized that I have to aim higher, at a government/ministry level. So I went to the Ministry of Communications and Informational Society’s website and looked around and found that I can send an online petition (https://www.comunicatii.gov.ro/e-petitie/) through one of their forms. I also found out that recently, only 2 weeks ago there was a meeting at the ministry regarding the nationwide implementation of the smart city concept – so this might be a good sign.

I wrote a 283 words petition, added 2 links, one to a google page with Public Feeds and the other one to an article about how smart cities are using API’s. I submitted the petition and I’m waiting for an answer.

100 Ways To Get Rejected: Petition for a National Public Transportation API
100 Ways To Get Rejected: Petition for a National Public Transportation API

For anyone interested about the smart city concept and Public Transportation API’s, those two links are:

https://code.google.com/archive/p/googletransitdatafeed/wikis/PublicFeeds.wiki

https://www.programmableweb.com/news/how-smart-cities-are-using-apis-public-transport-apis/2014/05/22

New Challenge: 100 Ways To Get Rejected

It’s time for a new personal challenge because it has been more than a month since I have finished the last one (100 Days of Writing) and I’m ready to get out of my comfort zone again and achieve new things and new heights. I have completed two challenges so far, 100 Days of Writing and Run a Marathon in 100 Days, it was hard completing them, at times I was asking myself why am I putting myself through this, that it’s a waste of time, energy, effort and so on, the challenges required me to get more creative and to push my limits but in the end, all I can say is that it was worth it, I’m now looking back at those few months of my life – I did both challenges during the same period of time – with a feeling that I did some memorable, something special, something unusual in the graph of my life.

New Challenge: 100 Ways To Get Rejected

I was inspired in creating this challenge after watching this TED Talk by Jia Jiang titled “What I Learned From 100 Days of Rejection”.

 

The fear of getting rejected is one of the most common fears in us and has deep roots in evolution. This fear comes all the way from the times in which we were living in small tribes and groups and when the rejection of our peers and our group was equivalent to a death sentence. Being cast out from your group meant that you had to find a shelter, fetch water, fetch firewood and keep the fire going, gather or hunt food, fight off huge animals of prey like the Smilodon (now extinct, also known as the saber-toothed tiger) or the huge cave bear (Ursus spelaeus, now extinct), fight off the members of a rival group or tribe – all by yourself. The fear of public speaking is actually the fear of getting rejected, public speaking exposes us in front of the whole group and directs their attention onto us – making us afraid that something we might do or say will upset the group and make it reject us.

One of the harshest prison punishments is solitary confinement, which reawakens the ancestral fear of getting rejected by the group and leaves the prisoner alone with his thoughts between four walls. In Ancient Greece, a harsh form of punishment was the exile or the ostracization – which comes from the Greek word “Ostracon” used for a piece of broken pottery used in a vote and that had written in it the name of the person who was to be exiled or not. We can find in history a lot of examples of people who have been exiled for various reasons: Ovid the Roman poet, Napoleon, which was exiled to Elba and then St. Helena, the famous womanizer Casanova, writer Victor Hugo, Dante the Italian poet, the Dalai Lama and many others.

This fear of getting rejected makes a lot of sense in the context of the early human history and the early human groups but nowadays is pretty much irrational and can be a hindrance to survival rather than an advantage. Today, the human groups are much more numerous, have much more members and have various degrees of organisation and stratification, we now call these groups teams, schools, companies, cities, countries. If you get rejected by one of these groups, even if it’s your fault or not, there is no smilodon around the corner waiting for you, instead, what you can find is another team, school, company, city, country and so on to which you can contribute. Now, the fear of rejection can stop you from asking out that girl that you like, from asking for that long due pay raise, from negotiating a better deal, from asking for help and so on, in other words, the fear of rejection can make you miss a lot of the opportunities that you have in life.

NO Signs

I’m doing this challenge because I want to get over my fear of getting rejected, to find opportunities and to improve my life. I’ve already written a list of more than 100 ways of getting rejected, some of them are downright crazy, hilarious, difficult, impossible and will put me through a lot of different situations, it will make some of the people that I will interact with question my sanity, consider me an idiot, a beggar, some kind of pervert, a time waster, a conman, a brave man and so on. I will probably be the subject of ridicule and insults but also admiration. I will be in situations I have never been before. It will probably be one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Now, the rules for this challenge are: I have to get rejected as much as possible in various ways. There is no time constraint as it was in my previous challenges because it’s hard to quantify how much it will take me to go through the list. I’m giving this challenge about a year to do but it might take more than that, some of the rejection scenarios require only a few hours of work while others require a lot more work and also some special conditions to be met.
Another thing: in some cases I might go for “soft rejections” meaning that I won’t go for a full-on rejection and act “full retard” to accomplish this, in those cases I have more to gain if I’m not rejected, or I’m only partially rejected – I call those cases “opportunities”.

The 100 Days to Run a Marathon Challenge

It’s important to always challenge yourself, to get out of your comfort zone, to set goals and to have systems to achieve them. There can’t be growth without getting out of your comfort zone. I’ve been wanting to run a marathon for about 7-8 years now, yet I haven’t succeed yet to achieve this goal because of various reasons. It’s time to stop wanting and to start achieving.

The 100 Days to Run a Marathon Challenge

forever running into the sunset
Source: Pixabay

The challenge is to run a marathon – 42 kilometers in the next 100 days. Day 1 was yesterday, 18 of March and day 100 will be on 26 of June 2018. Yesterday I’ve run about 3.5 kilometers in cold, through snow and a patch of ice and did a few ups and downs on a big 55 steps stairway which is about 100 meters from where I live. The weather is a bit problematic at the moment and it seems that it will still be winter until the next week at least. I will be running outdoors only and the compacted snow and ice on the streets is increasing the risk of injury. Hopefully I will not end my journey as soon as I am starting it. I haven’t run today but I will do.

I don’t have any special training plan, I only have a simple system: to run almost daily and push myself a little bit more each time. Running daily is not a realistic and even recommended because the body needs time to recover. I will make up the plan as I go.

Realistically speaking, I’m a bit reserved towards my chances of achieving this goal. I’m in a relatively good physical shape, I’ve run before, but I’m quite bad and slow at running! I have bad long-distance running genes (I’ve done a DNA test a few years back, I will most probably write a future post about genetics), I have fast-twitch muscle fibers, fast-twitch muscles fatigue faster, all the elite marathon runners have slow-twitch muscle which are great for endurance. I have bad running form, my options are limited here because I have a problem, don’t like to talk/write about it but I have some limits in the use of my left arm and I can’t do the proper arm running movements. I don’t know my VO2 max but it’s probably lower than the average, I took a test some years ago because I had a pulmonary infection, i’m not sure how the test is called, it’s the one where you have to blow as hard as you can into a device – and the doctor asked me if I smoke after reading the results – I’m not a smoker, I tried smoking but didn’t found it appealing, smoked 5 cigars tops in my whole life.  Probably my VO2 max improved since then, I’m less sedentary now than in those years.

Like I said earlier, I tried running before, I have my in-built limitations but I’m not a beginner: I succeeded in running semi-marathons before. I participated to an official trail running competition, even though I worked very hard, I  was among the last ones to cross the finish line. What stopped me from running a marathon until now is the lack of consistency I guess,  I had periods of weeks, months and even years in which I didn’t run because of various reasons. I don’t know about others, but in my first runs after not running for a month or less my lungs are burning like it’s the first time I’m running.

This bucket-list goal has been evading me for too long. I will check it off by 26 of June.

I won’t be writing daily about how this challenge, goes, I will most probable write an update on day 50, day 99 or day 100 or earlier if something unexpected like breaking a leg happens.

N.B: I’m also on day 11 in my challenge to write a post each day for 100 days. I haven’t wrote about doing this challenge before, you are finding it now for the first time.