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Friday, April 11, 2014

The Tax Man Cometh

Did you feel that? That…ghostly pinch?


It's that time again. Tax time. The time of year where we all start worrying whether we should be brave enough to actually claim our home office or we should, for this month alone, pretend that room at the end of the long, shadowy corridor doesn’t exist. Time to start sifting through receipts. What the heck happened to the receipt for the new keyboard? Why did I keep a receipt for Trader Joe’s? Hey, I never heard back from that agent about the Paris thing!


Tax time.


Once upon a time tax time meant refund time. I used to do my taxes early. I couldn’t wait to get that money back! But those days are behind me now and every year my tax bill gets higher and higher and my accountant and I argue more and more. How can forty percent possibly be right? The math HAS to be wrong! How can I owe this tax if this tax is more money than I have?


And so it goes. It always ends the same. Me borrowing against my no-interest-credit- cards to pay my taxes during the lean spring months. This year I have decided to look at paying my taxes as contributing to my favorite charity. My taxes buy a lot of stuff I consider important, so…good. I’m glad about that.


Which doesn’t change the fact that tax season is VERY painful.


But here are a few sites and tips that might help you get through it. My own personal experience? Keep accurate and complete records. Don’t wait until April to start adding stuff up. And last but not least, stay informed about changes to the tax code. (Also -- I hire a professional to do my taxes because this is NOT my strength.)







What about you? Do you have any useful tax tips? Have you formed an LLC or incorporated? Heck, have you filed your taxes yet?

Josh Lanyon's latest release from Carina Press is Stranger on the Shore, due out May 5th. You can find Josh at this fine social media venues:

Twitter: @JoshLanyon


Anne Marie Becker said...

The topic everyone dreads but needs to hear. :) Thanks for the links, Josh. My tax person sends me a worksheet for my business items, so I've started using that as a guideline. Other than that, I throw receipts into a file until I have to deal with them. LOL But at least I'm keeping track now!

Josh Lanyon said...

Keeping track is the way to go. I have to say, I really, really hate tax time. But at least keeping track saves SOME of the panic.

Susan said...

Hi Josh,

Although I get a salary, I also have other income and have to pay quarterly estimated taxes each year. I was struck by your comment about using your credit cards to pay your year-end taxes. As an author, I am assuming you pay quarterly estimated taxes too. Perhaps an increase per quarter would soften the final payment when April rolls around.

And yes, my accountant just finished and filed my returns. :)

Josh Lanyon said...

Hey there, Susan. I do pay those quarterly estimates, yes. But my earnings keep going up, and this year I got hit for an additional 17K! Ouch. Having already paid...well, a lot. :-D

Since so much of my earnings now come from self-publishing, I incorporated at the end of last year, so we'll see how that works. So far it's been horrendously expensive.

Susan said...

Yeah, well, earnings that keep going up... That IS a tough position to be in! :)

Toni Anderson said...

If you can find anything on Canadian taxes, I'd appreciate it :) I got an accountant last year (and a new on this year!!). I put money aside and spreadsheet my expenses and earnings every month. I spent well over a decade with my writing costing more than it was bringing in--not even counting the fact I could be earning a living wage in the real world. No one wants to pay taxes but is sure as heck beats the alternative :) Keep selling those books, Josh :)

Rita said...

I HATE doing taxes. That was hubs big deal. I pay everything with a credit card. Not only have receipts but the card record. And… I get miles with my card. I make an effort to add stuff up every couple months so it doesn’t do me in at tax time. Thanks for the links.

jean harrington said...

Interesting theories on the way to go, tax-wise. My method, I throw all receipts into a king-sized envelope and dig through it in January. Separate computer expenses, office supplies, professional dues, postage, social/business meetings, mileage, spa--no erase that--and that's about it. Don't like the way my account looks at me when he tallies up the expenses versus income, but I ignore that. Write on!

jean harrington said...

In that post above--should be accountant, not account. To err is stupid.

Helena said...

I'm not surprised you've been getting migraines lately. Hope they disappear with the end of the tax year.

Josh Lanyon said...

Well, after a year of sabbatical, my earnings BETTER be going up! :-D Or I would take that as a message from the cosmos.

Josh Lanyon said...

Toni, I hear you. I try to think of these things as investment in my career. So much money goes out the door on things that don't earn much yet. Or maybe ever.

But you do have to invest in your career.

As for taxes... I do believe in all the things taxes pay for -- roads, schools, the military, etc.

Which doesn't change the fact that tax time is so PAINFUL.

Josh Lanyon said...

Rita, more and more I try and stick to paying with credit cards. It does simplify everything. And it reduces the danger of paying for personal things with business money.

Josh Lanyon said...

Jean, that was my old method -- the envelope and the email. But I realized I lose track of a lot of expenditures that way!

Josh Lanyon said...

Helena, I was thinking the same thing. I think there probably is a correlation.

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