It’s time. Our appointment is next Monday, and I’m scrambling like a madwoman to figure out income and deductibles from my writing/editing/speaking business. And while I pop Tylenol regularly and wear my pencils to nubs, I fuss at myself. This would be so much easier if I could discipline myself to be a better record keeper during the year.
I’m like a thousand other authors out there. I just wanna write (insert teary whine). I don’t want to deal with marketing and promotions, pricing and distribution strategies, and record-keeping and accounting. Don’t wanna. However—and again, like a thousand other authors—I can’t afford to have someone do it all for me.
Who knows why I put things off the way I do, but now I’m sitting before a mound of papers trying to figure out what that purchase was for, who this group is, and what-is-this-and-is-it-deductible?
Did you know, for instance, that some of the folks you purchase things from charge you under a different name than the one you think you’re doing business with? I have a recurring charge from Canada. Canada! I was paying an entire nation for something I didn’t recognize until I dropped everything today and spent an hour digging around. It was legit, it was deductible—but why couldn’t the company just call itself SocialOomph?
Doesn’t matter now, I guess. I don’t use it anymore.
By the way, when you order your books, keep in mind that the order of the books themselves goes under “inventory,” but the shipping and handling don’t. So, if like me, you have a payment to CreateSpace, or whoever, on your credit card, realize that this is for the entire amount, and if, unlike me, you’ve done a good job keeping records, or at least receipts, you know how much you paid for the books and how much you paid for S&H—which is deductible, but doesn’t go under “inventory.”
Do you travel with your job? Keep up with mileage and such? Do the gymnastics required to deduct all that? I don’t. Considering I’m as likely to be in MSB’s pickup as I am to be in my sedan, there’s no point trying. But we deduct hotels and meals. I can see it now:
Mr. IRS Auditor: “I see you’re deducting hotel expenses and meals in Houston, Tyler, Texarkana, Nashville, Hearne, Georgetown, but you’re not deducting any actual travel expenses. How did you get to these cities?”
Me: “Angel wings.”
I don’t know that I’d be able to admit that, even if we did use just one vehicle for business, I can’t figure out how to deduct it. It’s a condition I have. A severe allergy to numbers. One of the symptoms is numerical dyslexia, which is the easiest to deal with. Another symptom is an intense, deep-seated, psychological denial of the fact that I’m in business now and I’m supposed to be dealing with numbers. I understand the “in business” part, it’s the other part that my brain blocks like a terrifying memory. Like I said, it’s a condition. There’s no cure.
So, here I am, scratching my head as I go through a year’s worth of credit card bills, PayPal statements, and receipts, and vowing—again—to do better this year than last.
Tevye was wrong. If I were a rich man (or woman), I’d hire an accountant. And a publicist.
And a maid . . .