Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tax Time

As a self employed person, tax time is always 'interesting!'

First, time spent pulling out the paperwork, the paper trail we all keep. Then pulling out the calculations from the previous year, to jog my memory on anything that I'd forgotten, . . . Schedules for 'profit & loss from business' & Self-employment, deductions (as a home owner, I can deduct that interst, & my donations - my dad would be proud!) Long form for both state & federal taxes.

One year I resolved to do my books monthly, & after finishing my April Chores, & put Jan thru April of the current year into Quicken - within a month or so that computer crashed! Misery! I keep a log with what I take in, & use my check book & CC notes for recording bus. expenses.

I was an employee for ~ 4 years while I lived at the resort - that first year I'd moved in ~ April, so had both a W-2 & the S-E paperwork - but after that, the simplicity of Short Form - bliss!! & I had a lot of freedom within that job, so it felt like the best of both worlds! In the early 70s, a Gypsy fortune teller read my palm, & told me I'd be happier working for myself . . . & for the most part, I have.

A young girl considering taking up my career in Health care asked if I wouldn't prefer being self employed?? Since I work with others in a clinic setting, rather than from my home or private office, she had a hard time believing me when I told her I AM self-employed! & that there are advantages to a group practice (8:30-5:30 receptionist, group advertizing & retreats, great office space & co-workers . . . ) I also mentioned the lack of retirement & health care plans (we can buy supplements at a discount, so that's my main 'healthcare!')

& with the new administration at the national level, I feel better about the intention on how these monies are spent - I do feel it's an honor to help co-create the world we want to live in, it's just been hard to keep that in mind over the last few years.

A few years ago I began an IRA, & enjoy seeing that account grow. For several years, I would calculate my taxes both ways, to see the difference an IRA would make in what I owed - & resolve to start one SOON. The resort is 'worker owned,' & we got annual dividends - I've wished that I thought to begin an IRA with one of those!!
When I finally did, (just after tax season) I was surprised to learn my first deposit could be $100 (very 'do-able!) & I chose a plan where I can contribute any time I want ($10 or more). I try to put $200 in each month. My goal for next year is to increase that to $300/month, & pay my federal taxes quarterly (as I'm 'supposed to').

I've mentioned IRAs to my co-workers, & the youngest began one! She has also purchased her own home within the last year, & seems to have a good business sense. For anyone who's self-employed, do look into IRAs!! It's so easy, & it's fun to see the #s grow! There are several choices in plans, find one that fits for you. Some just allow one 'lump sum' contribution - I like being able to put in little bits!
The income isn't taxable 'till you begin withdrawing from the fund - usually at a lower tax bracket. It's ideal to have a savings account as well - I know, in this time of $$ uncertainty, many of us are struggling to make ends meet!! When I bought my home, I was told to get a credit card to 'establish credit.' It's still my only card, & I pay it off each month, so no interest gets charged.

With my IRA, the money just putters along gaining interest, no fluctuation with stock market & such. I picked my S & L (across the street from our office) for my accounts & IRA, they reinvest in the community, hire locally, & last fall gave their usual dividends when other banks were beginning to struggle. They also have a local donation program, we get to vote on which organizations receive funds from the S & L itself (you can nominate ones that aren't on the ballot) At Christmas they collect blankets & toys.
My home loan is thru the S & L as well, so the interest I pay helps them fund other loans. A young woman who worked for Habitat for Humanity is now their PR person, so helps organize events, inc. the donation program. At a 'business after hours' open house, she commented on 'our' loans (her home loan is thru the S & L as well) fund other loans - & how much of the money stays in the community.

We have a lovely downtown, 'Oregon's Favorite Main Street,' & a recently organized 'buy local' campaign by local business people. I have attended a few events & put both my group practice & my harp business on the free website.

Tomorrow I'll start inking in the tax forms - & Monday 'top up' my IRA contribution (plus getting the ammended slip - I can contribute up to $5000 in this account per year). Might even get them sent off before Wed :)



Lisa said...

Oh taxes! I really dislike tax season. We are also self-employed, so it does make filing more complicated.

Thanks for the heads up on IRA. We bank at the same S&L, so I should check into their IRAs.

peppylady said...

Taxes stress me out and we hire someone to do our taxes.
It relief off our mind.

Coffee is on.