April 15th is looming large, and we've still yet to do our taxes. We're a last-minute bunch, I'll admit. I have managed to get my patootie down to Staples to get this year's Turbo Tax programs, and I just finished about an hour of receipt sorting and classification of documents so that, once we crack open those programs, we'll be all set to go. Last year we were so proud of ourselves for wading through it all--I'd used H & R Block or something similar for the previous years, and Dan's were always so easy he could just telefile with the easy form--and then we completely forgot to sign the silly printouts and include our W-2 forms. I totally freaked when we got a letter from the IRS a few weeks later. Nothing like those three little letter to strike terror in the heart of good citizens.
It's truly unbelievable how many receipts and write-offs one can rack up as a writer. The bummer is that, while I can write off tall these great things--printer ink, my computer, novels I buy, the drinks I buy at the coffeeshops when I go there to write--I hardly ever have the money to buy them in the first place. Like they say, takes money to save money.
I started working with a direct sales business in December of 2003 called Cookie Lee (corporate guidelines prohibit me from linking you there, but it's cookielee.com if you want to check it out), so last year was my full year of business, and sadly, I did not plan well for tax season. I was shocked, though, to see what my sales were--way more than I'd anticipated. Still, given all the money I poured into it, I could probably have claimed a loss if I'd better tracked things like mileage. But who am I kidding to think I'd ever keep track of little piddly things like mileage when I can barely keep track of the keys needed to drive the dang car? This year I managed to stay really, really organized--until about two weeks ago. Now there are receipts and stuff everywhere, and the little slips of paper I wrote milage and toll fees and postal costs on are who-knows-where. How I wish I'd gotten my mother's organizational gene. Apparently the "disorganized" and "writer" genes are on the same chromosome, inextricably tied together. Thankfully Mom's genetic contribution watered down my dad's--otherwise I'd have lost my husband under all the clutter by now.
So now my brain hurts. Too much thinking, too much math. I have my freshly-signed Jodi Picoult novel waiting to be read, so I'd better go indulge it and rest the part of my head that deals with taxes. Otherwise I may exhaust it end up forgetting to send them altogether this year.
And so we come to the end…
2 weeks ago