Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gonna Visit My Uncle Sam -- who has his hand out

Tax timeDon't you just LOVE to spend hours pouring over a spreadsheet adding up each and every trip to the post office, counting the miles AND the postage?  Well, that's how I spent yesterday.  I spent nearly $3,000 in postage in 2011, and will probably spend as much if not more in 2012.  All part of my job of promoting my books.

But that's not a beef.  Honest.  And it really didn't take all that long yesterday because my figures, when broken out, added up with the total at the bottom of the spreadsheet.  Usually I screw up with my formulas and have to go over the figures time and again.  Yesterday?  Not at all.  But then I realized there were missing items.  Like my new keyboard.  I couldn't find the receipt and I couldn't find item listed on my Visa bill (because I couldn't remember the date I bought it).  So ... that didn't get counted.  I know there were others, and I try to be meticulous about keeping receipts and adding the totals to my spreadsheet. Must try harder this year.

Small notebooksKeeping track of my mileage is the worst.  This year I did a better job, but still missed writing down the mileage for my stock signings.  Oh well.  I should keep a special notebook in the car and take down the beginning and ending numbers on those trips.  (Betcha I forget to do that!)

No turbo tax for me.  I go to an accountant.  Are you kidding?  The IRS makes authors jump through hoops.  We're self-employed.  We have to pay estimated taxes quarterly.  Schedule C for me!  I supply the numbers, my accountant puts them in his spreadsheet, hits, a button, prints out the tax forms, and the estimated tickets and envelopes, and I'm done for the year.  Unless I make a LOT less or a LOT more and need to adjust my 4th quarter payment, which has happened in the past.
Tax time is not fun time.  But tax time means Spring is on the way.  Hey, I have to find something positive about the experience, don't I?

How about you?  Expecting a refund this year?  (Sadly, I'm not.)