Friday, December 12, 2008

End of the year tax rant . . .

By Lonnie Cruse

It's that muchly dreaded End Of The Year Time. Time for me to finish my yearly writing expense report for my CPA daughter-in-law who holds me to an extremely tough standard and goes over said report with an extremely fine tooth comb. I take comfort in the fact that her own mother gets the same treatment from her. Sigh. I suppose her mother and I should be grateful that she keeps us out of jail and/or out of the clutches of the IRS.

One of the things that is driving me nuts this year is, grrrr, usage tax. In case you aren't familiar with it, many states, including Illinois, expect residents to report any purchases of items we bought in OTHER states that don't have sales tax OR purchases we made online without having to pay tax. Sigh. AND the state of Tennessee (thankfully I don't live there but I have friends who do) have to pay the difference if they purchase something in another state that has a lower tax rate. Buy something in Kentucky or another nearby state for even a mere .02 percent lower than Tennessee, pay the difference at home at tax time. Sigh. What idiot came up with these ideas? Never mind.

As a writer who keeps a stash of books to sell when I'm out and about, (meaning not at a bookstore that ordered copies for a signing but at library signings, my annual Superman Celebration appearance, meeting new readers who buy a book on the spot out of my car trunk, etc.) I have to keep track of every single sale and my CPA/DIL figures how much sales tax I owe and fires it off to the appropriate state for me. Gotta love her. NO WAY I could do this on my own. And her fees are reasonable, a meal at one of her fave restaurants. Works for me.

Taxes are on my mind today because my state taxes are doing double, possibly even triple, duty paying the governor's salary, upkeep on the governor's mansion, and a safe space for said governor while he languished in the slammer last Tuesday. Sigh. I wonder if the warden could've let Governor Blagojevich share a cell for the day with our former governor, George Ryan, who is still incarcerated for his misdeeds? At least that might've saved us Illinois residents a few tax bucks.

This is NOT meant to be a political discussion. It's a rant about keeping up with all those pesky little receipts and paying all my taxes, every single dime due, on time, because I'm an honest person, and seeing what happens to said tax money when it hits the state coffers. If the current governor is impeached rather than stepping down voluntarily, it will cost the state millions. Sigh.

Okay, time to stop ranting and take appropriate action. If anyone from California is reading this post, are you interested in loaning us The Terminator for a few months to come here and help us straighten things out? I promise we'll send him right back. Always assuming he doesn't get himself arrested, of course.

Better yet, how about you Alaska folks? Could we please borrow Governor Palin? A hockey mom should have no trouble straightening out the problems in Chicago. We need some help here, people.


Sofie Kelly said...

Lonnie, maybe my tax story will make you laugh. Here, people below a certain income get a rebate on the federal GST--Goods and Services tax. My mother-in-law died in March and several weeks later she received a letter--addressed to her, by the way, explaining that since she was deceased she was no longer entitle to the rebate, BUT if she stopped being deceased to please let them know because she might be eligible again.

I'm not joking!

Lonnie Cruse said...

Bawhahahahaha! That takes the cake, Darlene! Thanks for sharing.