It’s not easy to get the perfect pizza. It takes a lot of trial and error. Making a mistake on a pizza is nothing like making one when you’re doing your taxes. If you make a mistake on a pizza, the worst thing that happens is you burn it, or it sticks to the pan, or your cream sauce tastes a little too much like vinegar for your liking.
You never get a letter in the mail months later telling you that your pizza had been audited by the Internal Pizza Service and found lacking. Learn more about audits here.
And what’s worse is that pizza is a choice. Taxes, unfortunately, are not.
They say there are two things in life that cannot be avoided: death and taxes. The death thing is going to work itself out in the end. You don’t need to worry about that. But the taxes, man, is that ever stressful. It’s like they intentionally make it difficult for you to figure out what you owe.
Especially if you’re self-employed.
Then you’re paying the employer taxes on your money as well as employee taxes. You’re supposed to pay four times a year. That’s right, four! It’s like they know that if you put that money away in a savings account it’ll accrue interest and that would be a small way in which you could possibly get ahead as a working person in America, so they have to put a stop to that. Click the link https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/self-employment-tax-social-security-and-medicare-taxes for more information about paying taxes as a self-employed person.
Expect the Worst, Prepare for the Best
My tax troubles started two years ago.
I had just quit my job trying on shoes professionally. I know, it sounds like a dream job. But it wasn’t what I had been offered. I was supposed to be trying on shoes and reviewing them for the company website. I was supposed to say things like, “runs small,” or “order one size larger than usual,” stuff like that.
It started out easy, just like advertised. And then my boss would poke his head into the foyer they had set aside for me to work at. No desk, so I was hunched over the company laptop. It was the place where everyone entered the building, so I was interrupted all the time.
So, he poked his head in and said, “You’re not one of those girls who has a problem pitching in when we need a little extra help, right?”
So, I helped out packing orders. It was hot in the warehouse. Everyone knew each other and I was the odd one out.
“I don’t like it,” I said when I got home. “I don’t want to do it anymore.”
“Then don’t do it,” my partner said. “You don’t have to ask me permission.”
I had to talk it over with him. How could I make a decision regarding our finances without his input? That wouldn’t be fair.
After talking it over, I quit the backdoor warehouse job. After a few weeks of looking for more work, I started to get antsy. What if I never found anything else ever again? It was possible.
I decided to become a rideshare driver. It was easy to get hired because I had a car that qualified for the program and my license was in good condition – no tickets or outstanding warrants or anything like that.
It all seemed good at first. I made decent – not great, but decent – money and was able to pay my half of the rent. I couldn’t do anything crazy like dream about my future home, but my immediate problems were solved. Click the link for more information about home ownership rates.
It seemed like I was spending money as fast as I could make it. Putting gas in my car, buying accessories to make the ride better – water bottles, chargers, tiny packages of goldish crackers. I was determined to do my best and succeed at my new job, even if it wasn’t my dream job.
And I did all right. I got lots of five-star ratings. But it was also stressing me out.
I was always looking at my phone, waiting for the next ride to come. In my down time I was totaling up the money I had already made. “Just three more,” I would tell myself. “Then the day will have been worth it.”
If only I had known what was in store for me, I wouldn’t have taken those three more rides.
The Taxman Cometh
I worked the rideshare for a few months while I looked around for something better. At least something that paid about what I was making in an hour without using up gas the whole time. All told, I made a couple of thousand dollars before I called it quits.
I started a new job at a veterinary clinic and put the rideshare business behind me. It was just a blip on my track record. I would never put it on a resume, I certainly wouldn’t brag about it, and hopefully I would never have to go back to it.
I paid my taxes for my vet clinic job in April, like I was supposed to. Like every year, once it was paid it was out of my thoughts. I was done with it. Click here for more information about tax rates.
And then I got the letter.
It was on yellow paper, bright and accusatory. I felt a knot in my stomach as I opened it that only got worse when I read what was inside.
I owed nearly two thousand dollars in back taxes. I didn’t have the money. I didn’t know what to do. I thought I was going to cry.
So, I went online and started looking for an answer to my problem. I discovered that there were companies that offered free tax debt relief consultation to people in my circumstance. I signed up right then and there.
I’m glad I did, because the person who called was more than able to help me resolve my problem. We worked out a repayment plan with the IRS that I could live with.