Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's Taxing

So for about an hour Saturday and three hours Sunday, I engaged in that American Obligatory Torture that is income taxes. ACK!

I've always done my own. It just doesn't seem like it ought to require a professional if we all have to do it (especially not a professional who already makes more money than me, so shouldn't get some of my hard earned money), so on principle, I haven't been willing to pay somebody else.


This whole 'Self-Employment' thing...

Man, I am pretty sure I snuffed that up...

But I'm operating at a loss, so that's something...

Why do I seem pleased with that? Let me e'splain...

Last year was the first one where I had income to do with writing. I got the first leg of my advance—the part that comes with signing. And that money did not have any taxes, social security... NOTHING withheld... So I was worried...

But in fact I have space in my HOUSE I use exclusively for writing (and social networking)(besides the bathtub, I mean)... I measured it and allowed myself to be prodded through the expenses portion of the tax form, and what do you know... it worked me below that advance level, so I don't owe any taxes on it!


Elizabeth had recommended Quicken for Writers, and I probably should have invested (instead I used Tax Act, in upgraded form for $17.95 *shifty*) I just really have such a mental block (read: am so cheap)--I can't make myself spend the money...



So what do all of you do for taxes? Anybody figured out anything easy peasy and fabulous?


Legacy Edit: DONE!!!

So we got a big ol' pile o' snow on Sunday and I took a snow day on Monday, and managed to finally finish the edit I've been working on. This is very exciting for a couple reasons.

1)I've sent it off to a couple fabulous readers. The last two readers were WONDERFUL, but changes were more extensive than I'd expected (which is par for the course, of course) so I thought fresh eyes would help before I get to the query...
2)I can FINALLY get back to WRITING!!! MAN, I've missed real writing (as opposed to this editing nonsense)


Okay... that's what I've got today... My brain is fried from the writing and snow... hopefully I will be back on top of it by tomorrow...  

In the mean time, to make me feel better... let's imagine our future selves... when the piddly money to an accountant no longer makes us hostile...

31 comments:

Misha said...

Hmmm... I'm tax-free until next year.

You have my symathy though.

:-)

Ellie said...

I haven't had the pleasure of doing my own taxes yet. Sounds horrid though.

The cover for Legacy is stunning!

Dan said...

I used to dread tax time. Now that I'm married with two kids, I look forward to the nice refund we get. :)

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Well, and there's Turbo Tax Home and Business, which is what I'm using this year. I'm planning on doing taxes this week (yuck.) It's about $60, I think. But we can write the tax prep software off next year.

Hate doing taxes. Hate math! :(

mshatch said...

turbo tax, easy and done in no time. I already got my state refund, now waiting on fed - apparently the irs didn't even accept returns until feb 14th because of a late change made to the tax code. And yes, I was able to write off what I paid last year and it was $60.

Hart Johnson said...

Misha-how'd you manage THAT! I want to sign up for tax free!

Ellie-your turn will come! And thank you! My friend Joris designed that!

Dan, we always get a refund, too, but it is still painful to do.

Elizabeth--forgot about that write off piece... Okay... may have to think about that.

MS-I hadn't realized that on the code and change... UGH! I hope it doesn't hold it up too long! Though my state refund isn't bad.

Carolyn Abiad said...

The tax man lives with me. And my mom has one. And my brother has a tax lady. I can't seem to get away from tax! And my birthday is right BEFORE April 15th, so no happy for me. I have to be happy after. And the piddly doesn't filter down far enough. We just marvel at the outrageous that the people who pay piddly make and wonder what we did wrong. Bleh! Tax!

Jan Morrison said...

I cannot even read that first section of this blog. I have several (!) years of stuff with a tax preparer - I have stuff to give her that I haven't. I've been putting $ into the tax dept. so they won't put me in jail - it isn't the money though that is problematic - it is the doing of them. I caught up when we built this house but now I'm hopelessly behind again. I don't make much but I make it from so many sources (completely self-employed) and it is a hideous job. And I think I'm smart. god.

Old Kitty said...

Fantastic news about finishing your edits!!! YAYAY!!!!!

Time to get NAKED and dance on the snow right?!?!

Good luck with your taxes paperwork - nuff to put a damper on being Naked!! :-) Take care
x

Ted Cross said...

I've long believed, with how complex the tax code is, that citizens should not be doing taxes at all. I think everyone would be happier if they just used a nice algorithmic formula and autodeducted everything from our paychecks, or even better, dump the income tax altogether and use a VAT tax.

Hart Johnson said...

Carolyn-Oh how LUCKY to have one in-house! My mom is an accountant, but never focused on personal taxes--she did grant stuff for a university.

Jan-ACK! It would stress me out so bad to get behind! I hope your professional gets it all sorted!

jenny-THANK YOU! And taxes are in, so NAKED TIME! (under the snuggy--our 10 inches of snow and blowing wind are bad for no protection)

Ted-I'd LOVE to see them eliminate a ton of loopholes! I especially want to see American Businesses that set up overseas have to pay US taxes (since they aren't providing US jobs). VAT taxes--my trouble there is it's regressive--poor people have to use their money for purchases. Rich people can SAVE a lot--I think income tax is a lot fairer that way, but I'd really like to see a much simplified system.

Angela said...

Just a heads up, a lot of us tax professionals don't make more than others. CPA's, yes. Tax accountants, not so much. I personally make only 20k a year on my own and at least 75% of the taxes I get are way over that.

Oh be careful with running a loss. If you don't make a profit two out of three years the IRS can deem you as a hobby. Fortunately the IRS is years behind (especially after Congress's latest stunt of not passing tax laws in time) so whether they tag you as a hobby or not, well it's hard to say.

Carol Kilgore said...

I did my part of our taxes on Saturday. We're still waiting for one 1099. Live-In Handyman takes care of the rest (thank you God!). Otherwise, I might be in deep doo-doo. Love the kitty!

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

when we bought our house a few years ago, my sister and i decided to pay to have our taxes done. It takes a lot of stress out of it.
Though, we're thinking maybe next year we might try giving it a go ourselves again.

Mary Vaughn said...

My taxes are finished and I received my return. This year's was simple. Next year I'll need a major program. YUK!
Aimed for 4000 words this weekend. Hit about 2700 -- too many shoveling breaks. Darn snow ;0(

Louise said...

Hiya, fellow crusader dropping by.

Diana said...

So you sorta sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher in the first part of your post. "taxes, quicken" not sure if I speaka dat language.

I think your cover looks great. Good luck with the book and getting back to writing writing. ;)

Helena said...

I have a friend who's also a tax accountant so every year I turn my paperwork over to him. It costs me but he's worth it.

True story: Einstein once tried to do his own taxes but gave up. He said, "This doesn't take a mathematician, it takes a philosopher."

And congrats big time on finishing your editing -- I know first hand how grueling that can be.

Helena said...

I have a friend who's a tax accountant so every year I hand my paperwork over to him. He's worth the peace of mind (and returns) he gives me.

Congrats big time on finishing editing! What a grueling process editing can be. Definitely not creative like writing.

Hart Johnson said...

Angela---does a tax accountant only work seasonally then? I guess I only have known CPAs. And does it count as a hobby even when you get paid? I thought the 1099 meant I had to do it as self-employed income. I will have to look at that, though hopefully at SOME point, I will at least make a little more than what I can deduct!

Carol-that IS handy!

Sarah-the house stuff isn't too hard, actually (not as hard as the kids, and they aren't bad either)--it's this self-employed income that was confusing!

Mary-2700 is pretty good with as much shoveling as was needed! Well done!

Louise-welcome!

Diana *snort* yeah, that's what I feel like reading the directions, but I'm stubborn, and plow on anyway.

Helena-if I had a local friend, I might splurge, too. And thank you! Yes--DONE! (for this round *rolls eyes*)

Helena said...

Okay, so this is regarding yesterday's post (I'm always slow), but anyway I've signed up for the Delusional Doom Blogfest. I won't be able to post anything about it for a couple days, meanwhile I hope you don't mind if I swipe (electronically borrow?) Holly's copy of the photo.

I'm already plotting the demise of several worthy individuals...

Holly Ruggiero said...

I was scared to read this post. The title was so, so scary. I used quicken for a while ‘cause it was recommended, not one for writers though. It was way more than I needed and more complicated that I had time for. So do you like Tax Act?

Congrats on finishing your edits!

Hart Johnson said...

Helena--totally fine to use any and all promo material! Thank you so much for helping out and I'm glad you're participating!

Holly-I felt like Tax Act was great as a tax entry system, but not overly helpful when I didn't know what something WAS--I had to google rules and definitions several times. I don't know if you have to for Turbo Tax or not--maybe that is why they charge the big bucks--because they tell you more. But I think I got all the prompts I needed. I KNOW it got me the Michigan Homestead deduction which was worth $1200 (for living in the house we own... or something like that)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad your edits are done. And I'm lazy - someone else does my taxes.

Will Burke said...

I have no problem paying a pro to find me some deductions!
The lie on my post was about the ducks. They were there & nesting, but they weren't the "Sea Ducks" described by the 10-cent word we had to incorperate :)

Happily Cheesy said...

Thankfully my hubby was an accountant in a past life, so no worries here. We use taxcut, and it keeps your file from year to year so all that leg work you just executed, it's available for use or reevaluation next year. Time=Money eh?

Ella said...

Congrats on finishing the EDIT! Woo,hoo~

Taxes...eeeewww; My hubby does them if nothing major happens in the year. He was wrong, feels like one of those Monopoly Cards,"You collect $800)Bank Error...but it was in our favor, so no complaints~

Raquel Byrnes said...

Bleh! I hate taxes. Thank goodness hubby takes care of them. As for your edits...congrats! What will you work on next?

Love your pic of basement cat, by the way. =)

Donna Hole said...

I use turbo tax - but I don't have any writing income. So sad.

I'll post your blogfest on my sidebar. I'm behind in making my own posts. And congrats on completing the edits :)

.........dhole

Nick Thomas said...

TAX= Terribly Agonizing Xperience

Oh, and Happy Presidents Pets Day -the day after Presidents Day, as I like to call it. In the US, we love our presidents..... pets. See my blog if you’re in the mood for a good ol' irreverent howl.

Colene Murphy said...

HURRAY for finishing Legacy edits!!! I always worry about the tax part of writing. But sounds like it isn't as bad as I think? Encouraging!