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Friday, April 15, 2011

The Friday Challenge - 4/15/2011

Today is April 15, and if you're a US citizen or legal resident, you know what that means: it's National Render Unto Caesar Day!

So as you're scrambling to do what most persons subject to IRS jurisdiction are doing today—rushing madly to get your tax forms completed and filed on-time and heaving multitudinous sighs of relief that because of recent political events, the filing deadline has been extended to Monday—it's time to remind you of one of the greatest joys of the writing life.

If you become a successful writer, you will be required to calculate and file your tax returns quarterly — and as a self-employed person, you will be required to pay both the employee and employer portions of the Social Security tax. (Bet you didn't know that the real cost of Social Security tax is double the number you see on your paycheck stub, did you?)

In Ireland, at least until recently, writers were considered national cultural treasures and exempt from paying personal income tax. (I'm sure they've changed it since. Nothing that good could ever last.) As an American, I truly believe that paycheck withholding is one of the great sneaky evils of our time, and if each and every one of us had to take actual cash out of our own pockets and write and mail a check to the IRS every three months, we'd all pay much closer attention to what those fools in D.C. are doing with our money.

But never mind that now. Today is National Render Unto Caesar Day! It's too late to do anything now about 2010, but what are the tips you'd like to share for how to lessen the taxman's bite in 2011?
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