Saturday, March 31, 2007

Using the Government to Achieve Goals

By Keith Fisher

It’s that time again. The time when I try to convince the government that I made less last year than they think I did. It’s a problem aggravated by having to cash in an annuity in order to make ends meet.

After hearing Rachel Ann Nunes talk about taxes for writers in the 2006 LDStorymakers Writers Conference, I decided to look into tax deductions.

As you might have guessed, the first step is admitting I’m a writer. Not that I’ve been keeping a secret, but now I have to let Big Brother in on the news. So I typed, Digital Preservation Specialists/Freelance Writer on the occupation line. That’s when I remembered Connie’s blog a few weeks ago. Like her, I can always use a good visual image to spur me onward so I listed Freelance Writer/Digital Preservation Specialist.

In going over the issues with a friend who prepares tax returns and is a law student, I found I could use schedule C and list all the write offs from my writing business. And I can do it every year.

My friend said the Self-employment tax form isn’t necessary because I didn’t make over $400.00. That means I can list all my expenses on Schedule C; Toner, paper, copies, the website, Membership fees, and the cost of the writer’s conference. The list can be endless. Of course I will need careful documentation.

One thing though, if you use this form, then check box number 2 and list the accounting method as accrual. Also, check it out with your tax person. I don’t want to catch the blame for your audit.

By the time I get this solution thoroughly researched, I’m sure it will be too late to file and perhaps the government will have forgotten about me. And they said I’m not a fiction writer . . . the real version? Congress will change the tax law just before I file. The IRS will laugh at my return; they’ll add it to their wallpaper, stamp the word sucker on my forehead, and attempt to squelch my uppity aspirations of being an author. May-be I really am a writer . . .

1 comment:

Tristi Pinkston said...

Hey, you aren't going to let the IRS decide whether you are or are not an author, are you? They probably read the Wall Street Journal for entertainment and would be terrible judges of fiction.