Mammas, don’t let your babies write ink on 1040s….
Ahem. *G* Apologies to Willie Nelson. If I had a better sense of lyrics I’d probably try to filk the whole thing. As it is this line won’t get out of my head.
Taxes have been interesting this year. The previous week’s adventures with a tax preparer were unnerving enough. This week I did my taxes.
Yes, I do them myself. By hand, with pencil, calculator, and multiple sheets of scrap paper. There are reasons for that. Though most of them boil down to just two. One, I don’t calculate very well with the background noise of a computer going. It’s a thing. Two – as a writer earning royalties (yay!) I qualify as self-employed and as a small business, and thus must fill out self-employment tax forms (argh!), various parts of schedule 1 that relate to said self-employment (double argh!) and the 1040-C for reporting business income (aiiyeee!).
The 1040-C is new. Back when I took a deep breath, self-published, and started getting actually paid for this, you could just use the C-EZ form. Much, much simpler; you could get by filling out a brief page of stuff, with simple breakdowns of income here, expenses there, there’s your net profits, go forth and enter the numbers on the other forms, oh fortunate one.
The 1040-C… is not that simple.
First off, it’s recursive. As in there are at least four different places in sections I and II where you have to get the numbers by filling out sections III through V first. I wish I were joking.
Second – two different places to write down expenses for “supplies”. No, definitely not joking. It takes a close reading of the sixteen-page instruction book to be reasonably certain that the supplies in section II are supposed to be office supplies and postage, whereas the same entry in section III means more or less “everything else”, material-wise, that might go into your business. So. Had to go back and redo all my calculations of expenses to break them into the two categories. Sigh. Fortunately writing expenses are mostly simple; cover art, research books, that kind of thing. Still.
Third – square footage of the house specifically used for your business? *Facepalms* Oh, if only. I doubt they’d take a write-off for “ideas gotten in the shower or bed”.
So. Read through forms, sketched calculations, filled out all the numbers on scratch paper. Let sit overnight. Redo everything the next day and check if the numbers match. If yes, fill out the forms, sign, photocopy in case of later Murphy, put forms in envelope with check, mail.
Yes, with check. The joy of being self-employed is that it doesn’t matter how little you make. They still get a 15.3% cut. Always.
But, done. Mailing this morning. Whew.
…Until next year.