Over the past two months I’ve been learning the underworld of the self-employed. My conclusion? Get an accountant. Or a personal assistant in India. Or maybe it should be an accountant in India. Whatever.
Last October, the fact that Mr. Farmer and I didn’t have employers was quite amusing. Especially the day I went to the utility company office to put the electric bill in our name. Here I was, pretty much in my pajamas with my windblown cockeyed ponytail, answering questions posed by a deadpan government worker:
Q: What is your name?
A: Well, I have a couple. My driver’s license has my married name, so I guess you can just use that one, unless you need to use my social security number, which has my maiden name.
Q: Where do you work?
A: Well, I don’t really have a job, and we’re going on a big trip for a few months. After that I plan to be self-employed.
Q: What’s your husband’s phone number?
A: Good question. I’ll have to call you with that one.
Q: Where does he work?
A: He doesn’t have a job either right now.
Obviously she asked for our prior utility company to send her a letter stating that we paid our bills on time. (Wouldn’t you?)
Fast forward six months. Mr. Farmer has a job (hooray!). And indeed I’m self-employed — probably more employed than I intended.
And today is April 11, which means a ton of tax things are due in 4 days. I’ve been trying for a week to decipher all the federal and state estimated payments stuff. Tonight I finally wrote the checks (because they have to mail you a PIN to pay online — doesn’t this defeat the purpose?). And we filed our 2009 income taxes tonight. Finally — this one’s been going on for weeks.
Realization: income taxes are about double in Kansas as in Illinois.
To top all that off, we bought a car last weekend, which added a whole new dimension of taxes due this month. That’s not to mention getting plates for Mr. Farmer’s truck — during which he learned that Kansas has personal property tax on vehicles (doesn’t exist in Illinois).
So with all this tax goop going on, let’s hope that the most inconvenient truth about self-employment doesn’t throw a wrench in our finances: I never know when I’m getting paid. I hear the check’s in the mail…famous last words.