Well, kids, April 15th is almost done! Or, at the very least, it’s very nearly a reasonable time to crack open that bottle of Jim Beam you bought with what little money the government left you with. Luckily, though we’re all desperately hoping the IRS might not find a daily bodega coffees a suspicious deduction, there are a bunch of warm-blooded American companies out there willing to dole out freebies even to the self-employed. Take a look, and let us know of any other gratis goodies out there today in the comments: (more…)
Don’t worry, the IRS stopped hiring wrestlers a few years ago
Look, we know, paying taxes sucks. There’s all sorts of forms and deadlines and it’s all in the service of you losing money. Well, usually. Sometimes you get lucky and you actually get money back, which is basically the only reason to pay your taxes. That and staying out of jail of course. Still, if you don’t file your taxes, you’ll never know that money is owed to you. And right now almost one million people across the country are missing out on refunds from their 2009 taxes, including 62,700 of them here in New York. (more…)
Yes, even for online purchases. Via Bastiat Institute.
Alright everyone, it’s time to grab your tea and dump it in the e-harbor, because according to Racked, the days of tax-free online shopping are over. Maybe. This past Thursday, lawmakers introduced The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, a bill that seeks to destroy our inalienable right to cheat the system while lounging in our underwear.
Paying taxes won’t kill you – right? (via flickr user Mat Honan)
Considering that the coffeeshop office is so popular in Brooklyn that even bars have gotten into the wifi game to woo the self-employed, it should come as no surprise that our borough has the largest population of freelancers in the city. But guess what, all you 1099-using graphic designers, bloggers, journalists and independent contractors galore? You still have to pay taxes, lest the wrath of the Internal Revenue Service befall you. (more…)
I remember a time when tax day was something to kind of look forward to, back when I had a full-time job that held some money back from me every year and a few minutes banging on the ole TurboTax machine gave the promise of hundreds of dollars in refunds. Then I quit that, started freelancing and took a part time job that didn’t even withhold enough money to help me this year, and now every April promises to be a Battan death march plowing through my meager savings account and delaying my dreams of buying a new surfboard for the 15th consecutive year. But what are we to do until President Ron Paul chucks out the whole tax code?
Let’s commiserate or gloat again: Are you getting a refund this year, or do you owe? How much? You can be anonymous in the comments if you like, but then we can’t hit you up to buy us pity beers with your sweet refund. Whoever has the biggest number wins a free high five (which, after taxes, is only about a high two)! I’ll start with my own awful payment I made this morning.
Paying your taxes is not equivalent to just throwing your money in the trash, according to a new study, because paying the gub’mint gives you a “warm glow” utility that makes “you feel good about helping others” or some such socialist claptrap. Perhaps you’re particularly attuned to the oddness of our tax system after this year of Occupying and injustice that you don’t have your own car elevator to write off. Well too bad! There’s nothing to be done about it now except to dull the pain. This year’s tax day freebies include the usual roundup of fast food options from Arby’s, Hooters and IHOP, but also includes a relief program at Halyards that features free drinks! (more…)
Our tax system is so flawlessly constructed and fair that I’m cashing out my retirement package from my last job to pay for the obscene amount of freelance taxes I owe this year. That’s how it works, right? Well, either way, if you’ve got yourself a fancy tax person, they’ll tell you the ways to game the system, much like all those rich people who do financial Houdini to get out of paying anything. Last week, the New York Times and those public radio masterminds at Planet Money published a very Brokelyn sounding guide called “What’s the Easiest Way to Cheat on Your Taxes?” that highlights several loopholes you could exploit. Their No. 1 tip might not be exactly useful this year: run your own company so you can write everything off as a business expense. But the rest of the piece helps illuminate the kinds of loopholes people exploit (cosmetic surgery), what looks like a red flag to auditors and other ins and outs of tax frustration. Hint: writing off your travel and entertainment expenses is like putting a bright red AUDIT target on your forehead. Which means I need to go adjust my tax forms immediately.
You’ve got barely a week left to file your 2012 taxes, which means it’s either time to find out how much the gubmint took from you that it shouldn’t have this year or time to suck it up and go see your tax guy again even though you took none of his very intelligent advice last year. Whether you have simple one-form taxes or an intimidating patchwork quilt of freelance 1099s, it’s not too late to get some free outside help: Brooklyn College offers walk-in free tax preparations; Brooklyn Coop offers free tax prep for people who earn less than $25,000 or self-employed people with expenses less than $10,000. St. John’s Bread & Life in Bed-Stuy offers free tax prep if you are single and earn less than $20,000 or if you’re married and earn between $50k and $55k.
For more tips on how to DIY taxes, whether to trust those store-front guys in Statue of Liberty costumes and maximizing your freelance expenses, check out our last-minute tax prep guide. Because remember: the IRS doesn’t care how clever your Occupy sign was; it just wants your money.
Hi I’m Rus Garofalo, I own Brass Taxes, a company that specializes in helping freelancers save money on their taxes. I started it because when I was a freelance video editor and actor, I thought tax help was a rip-off for lazy people, anxious people frightened by numbers, or really rich people. Then I worked with a tax preparer and got mad that I’d been screwing myself so badly. So I started telling my freelancer friends about it and doing their returns. Then I took lots of boring classes until I became a tax pro.
My friend Russ (yes, same name, weird) has always done his taxes himself. I asked him to do his taxes using an online service, then I would do them and we’d compare the results. Watch the video yourself to see if doing taxes yourself is really worth it. (The video is staged, but the return numbers and times are real. The carrots and hummus are real too.) (more…)