$3900 from my pocket to…whose?

I was fearful of doing our taxes this year. I was fortunate enough to have a good year last year, largely due to one client. (The same client for which I am still working off part of that income and that now has a moratorium on hiring external writers and a 70-day payment policy on any work it does approve.)

I spent all day this past Sunday filling out the “tax organizer” our accountant uses to prepare our returns. Today, I got the word from him: We owe $3900. This on the same day I read this article in the WSJ and almost burst a brain vein.

So, you might say, Well, if you earned it, you have to pay on it.

It’s not like I haven’t been paying my taxes all year.

Every quarter, I sat at my desk, wrote the check, and sent the federal government an average of $1300, based on last year’s income, which is how you do it when you’re self-employed. I wrote two more checks to the state government and the local government. So, yes, I’ve already paid $5200 in federal taxes just for myself, not counting what Mike “contributed” through direct withholding on his paycheck.

I worked hard. I had my best year ever (after almost 10 years of self-employment). And now I get to pay for that success.

And you know, we didn’t squander the money. The vast majority of it went right to our ongoing house projects.

Yes, my fellow Americans, we are working hard to improve the modest, fixer-upper home we bought almost 4 years ago.

We didn’t buy a brand new $400,000 house we couldn’t afford. (We didn’t even buy a $175,000 house we couldn’t afford.)

We put about 6% of our income into our 401(k)/SEP-IRAs (and we all know how well that turned out).

I pay for my own health insurance. (Mike’s employer had been paying for his health insurance. But we just found out that his insurer is no longer offering small-group coverage. So now we have to find a new policy for him, and possibly pay more for that, too.)

We drive older cars so we don’t have car payments.

We pay off our credit cards every month.

We shop mostly at Wal-Mart, with an occasional foray to Sam’s Club.

We eat out more than we should, mostly at the bar down the street (it’s cheap, and it feels good to support a local business).

We use coupons a lot.

We gave a few hundred dollars to various charities, and donated items to Goodwill.

All in all, we are responsible citizens.

We seem to be in the minority.

I have one question:

Just which one of our bought-more-house-than-they-can-afford, not-working-and-on-welfare, decided-to-have-8-more-babies, lived-the-high-life-on-credit-cards-they-couldn’t-pay-off, “I-won’t-have-to-worry-about-putting-gas-in-my-car, I-won’t-have-to- worry-about-paying-my-mortgage” fellow citizens (or illegal aliens) should I make the check out to?

If, by the mere force of numbers, a majority should
deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right,
it might, in a moral point of view, justify revolution.

                                               ~ Abraham Lincoln


  1. Rege said,

    Friday, February 20, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    We got our bonus for 2008 today. $4,487.00 , after taxes, $2,771.63, nuff said

  2. WritingbyEar said,

    Friday, February 20, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    You forgot to mention that to earn this bonus, you worked an average of what, 6.9 days a week? Seriously, do you know how many days you worked last year (out of 365 possible)?

  3. Facie said,

    Friday, February 20, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    That was an infuriating article for sure. If any of those people have a house payment that is 38 percent of their income and the reason is not b/c they have been downsized, I feel nothing but resentments towards them for getting help. If I get laid off (and our income would be cut a little more than half), our house payment still won’t be close to 38 percent of our income. So no help for us.

    Jordan’s school (that she will start in the fall) offers financial aid. I thought about applying, but I know that someone will just look at our savings and see that our expenses are less than what we bring in, so we won’t qualify. And even with Brian’s 3 percent paycut, we can still afford the tuition, so why bother (remember, we live in a really bad school district). But the person standing next to me, who constantly lives above her means and gets to take fancy vacations every year and lives in a 200k plus house will qualify for financial aid. And that makes me mad.

    Sorry about your owing money. Fortunately for us, we got money back this year, and for once, we are going to spend it on ourselves, finally taking a long-deserved vacation this summer, unless one of us gets laid off…

  4. WritingbyEar said,

    Friday, February 20, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    You go! You deserve that vacation because you earned it the hard way, by saving for it.

  5. Rege said,

    Friday, February 20, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    No, forgot to do that this year, but I do know all I made in overtime just about covered my Federal taxes.

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