In a desperate attempt to up the awesome over here at PBD, I’ve decided to make a few changes.
Saturday Swag-urday is on hiatus (at least until next holiday season) and it’s been replaced by it’s much more budget friendly buddy, Cent Saving Saturday.
Now, don’t get all excited, I’m not gonna start collecting coupons and bargain shopping. I think we all know that Dumb Mom is not cut out to be a “couponer” and the only discounts I really care about are the ones you get for being a DSW rewards club member!
But, following the spend-your-money-unwisely-so-your-kids-think-Santa-is-the-sultan-of-a-small-nation holiday I think we could all use a bit of focus on spending less and saving more (even if I’m only saving for this).
Plus (now cover your ears if you’re sensitive or have a weak stomach) it’s tax time.
That’s right, I said the naughty word.
Because, in case you’re like me and you’re still writing 2009 on every thing, you should note that the dreaded season in which Uncle Sam rips you a new one and then charges you for it is upon us.
So, I figured, what better way to help a fellow blogging buddy than to offer them tax related advice.
I’m sure you are wondering what a SAHM/former teacher/photographer/freelance writer/blogger/disgruntled hospital employee knows about taxes.
Well, friends, let me tell you that before I became a photographer/freelance/writer/blogger/disgruntled hospital employee, but after I became a former teacher/SAHM I was a certified tax preparer for a national tax preparation company for 5 years.
I know what you’re thinking…is Dumb Mom that person they were making fun of on In Living Color all those years ago?
Okay, maybe you weren’t thinking that. Maybe only Hubby refers to me as “that island dude from In Living Color”. And, maybe it’s only Hubby who uses his totally-fake-not-even-close-okay-seriously-mon-it-sounds-JUST-like-it-but-I’m-not-admitting-that-to-him-or-he’ll-never-shut-it accent when I come home from one of my many jobs.
But, I’m sure you are curious about my credibility since I seem to be a bit of wanderlust when it comes to the professional career department.
And, I’ll admit, your concerns are warranted.
Why does one person need 7 jobs?
Dumb Dad asks me the same thing all of the time.
And, all I can say is that I like a challenge.
I like having something on my plate, and being engaged in an activity that keeps me busy and requires that I push myself to accomplish it.
I’m not sure why I have the desire to constantly bite off more than I can reasonably chew and then spend weeks flailing about to get my bearings in my exhaustion induced stupor.
Probably just so I can complain about being busy (and tired, and fat).
Well, the explanation is neither here nor there, all that matters is that the facts are these: Dumb Mom did taxes professionally for many years as a way to make some extra cash while continuing to stay home with her children (I worked every evening and weekend during tax season). This experience allowed her to gain invaluable knowledge about the United States Tax Code and the filing of personal (and business) income taxes. As she remains interested in this topic (because every person she knows requires that she does their taxes for them) she can be a wealth of almost always accurate information for those less schooled in the ways of the IRS. Incidentally, Dumb Mom thinks doing taxes is fun.
Feel free to submit your own tax related questions if you want. If I don’t know I’ll tell you and then work my butt off to find the answer (remember, I’m a glutton for punishment).
So here is this week’s tip: Get organized.
Yep, it’s really one of the key components for having a positive filing experience.
And organized does not mean having all of your receipts in a big used-to-be-home-to-a-bomb-a$$-pair-of-shoes box with “TAXES 2009” scribbled across the front.
Your tax professional does not want to spend hours going through your stupid little box. Actually your tax preparer probably won’t mind all that much because thanks to your inability to use a filing system, Mr. Taxman just made even more bank offa you by charging you hourly.
Way to go, champ.
Now, not only do you owe Uncle Sam a fat wad of cash, you also owe Mr.Taxman a big chunk too.
So, if you want to save a few bucks (and be more informed about your tax situation) take time to go through your receipts from the year.
Separate them into categories, label them, and keep them in order.
I’m anal about having junk piles of paper lying around so I make sure that I do this throughout the year.
I have those cheapo, beige colored, nondescript file folders that I staple down both sides and label with the month.
Then I stick all my necessary recipets (not the ones from Starbucks or DSW, those I chuck immediately to prevent spousal discovery!) in them as they accumulate. At the end of the month I haul it down to my office/guest room/storage area/play room/secret lair area for safe keeping, and replace it with the empty folder for the following month.
Way to go Dumb Mom’s organizational skills!
Come January, all I have to do is separate them.
I like to start off by separating my business receipts (for my writing and my photography) from my personal ones (like medical/dental, home related, job related, etc).
Then, I make subcategories from there to ensure that all things are accounted for accurately.
You probably don’t need to get so technical, but my tax background rears it’s ugly head when it comes to tax record accuracy.
Not because I’m afraid of being audited (seriously, it sounds scary but only like 1% of average income people get audited per year and Uncle Sam would be seriously disappointed if he chose to come after me), just because I’ve had to go through my fair share of last-year’s-black-shoe-boxes-of-horror and I can’t imagine being that person myself.
I’m probably one of the only people on the planet who enjoys tax season.
I like doing my taxes.
I like getting a refund (because I always do, even though I know that’s not supposed to be the goal).
And, I like helping other people muddle through their tax nightmares because I appreciate the frustration of it all.
Want Dumb Mom to answer your tax related question on a future edition of Cent Saving Saturday?
Bring it on. And, I dare you to try and stump me because, as creepy as it sounds, I love me an IRS related challenge!*
P.S. Submitting your questions and receiving an answer from Dumb Mom does not guarantee that you will not be audited or thrown in jail for tax evasion. The American tax code has a number of “gray areas” with a lot of room left for interpretation. Dumb Mom tends to interpret things in her favor and the IRS has a history of interpreting things in their own. As such, I will not be held accountable for any monies you owe, time spent in prison, or criminal record you gain for taking my advice. Proceed with caution, friends, I don’t actually know everything, I just think I do!