Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tax Tales

I know, I know, I know...(did anybody else think of Bill Withers just now?)...you all were probably expecting--nay--anxiously anticipating some witty word of wisdom or profound pontificating pronouncement in conjunction with the recently-passed deadline for filing an income tax return.

Well, the factual fact of the matter is that I was too busy doing my taxes to be able to write about my taxes.

I've only "had people" prepare my tax return twice in my life: my first year in college and my first year in paid ministry. The experience my first year of college was pretty scary. The professional preparer had an asthma attack when she saw how little I had lived on as a married student with a one-year-old daughter...not because she couldn't believe we survived on the measly amount, but because she was afraid we wouldn't be able to pay her fee.

Having my taxes done by a professional after my first year as a full-time, paid minister was just silly. I did it, of course, because I was afraid I would hose up the forms and not properly report the non-taxable housing allowance or the self-employment penalty or the Schedule 27B Report of Influential Backtax Supplemental Conspiracy to Have Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor. As it turns out, it was so simple that the preparer only charged me for making copies of the forms for my records.

Advice: keep your annual income below $7,000 and you don't really have to fret too much over taxes.

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