Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Taxing Ritual. . .

It's over! I finished yesterday afternoon! For the first time in my memory, I actually completed our income tax returns and submitted them a full 4 days before the April 15 deadline. Now, I can come up for air and get back to living again.

I have always prepared my own tax returns (with the exception of 1 year in the mid-1960s). I think that my first return was submitted in 1953 covering the little I earned in a part-time job the previous year. Those were simple returns. In 1960, I received my undergraduate degree in Accounting and that certainly contributed to my ability to survive the annual "filing taxes ritual." In recent years, the availability of tax preparation software has lessened the pain of the process but I always seem to be pushing the deadline with the submission of our return never coming before April 14. Somehow I finished earlier this year although I seemed to get a later start than usual. I guess that I just have more discretionary time on my hands since I retired.

Everything went along fairly easily this year with only one quirk. It happens that I become an "employee" for every job I work in film and TV; that apparently is the law. The production companies cannot pay the talent as independent contractors. Between my several "background" jobs last year and a small number of residual payments, I received 9 different W-2 forms from production and payroll companies. (One of them was for all of $10.45 in residual payments from a TV show shot in 2000 which still gets occasional reruns.) The data from each form had to be entered separately and challenged my keyboarding skills.

The annual ritual is over and was a little less painful than it has been in recent years. Now, back to life. . .and blogging!


Shauna Roberts said...

I always try to start our taxes in February, both because they're complicated because I'm a freelancer and my husband sometimes does consulting outside his regular job, and because sometimes, some necessary piece of information is missing or wrong. For example, several years in a row, I received a 1099 with a wrong amount (not always the same client, either), and sometimes, my husband files some of the year-end reports from mutual funds instead of giving them to me.

Even starting in February, though, by the time I collect the missing things and proofread, I usually don't file until April.

Bill Cohen said...

I remember a year ('91 or '92) when I had a dozen different W-2s from the, well, dozen different production companies and temp agencies I fiddled with over the course of the year. Such fun!

Leon said...

SHAUNA, I usually start in February too but there has always been a force in my life that leads me to "work to deadline."

BILL, it had not dawned on me that multiple W-2s ran in the family. I guess I inherited that from you. ;~D