Wednesday, March 12, 2008

On Taxes and Shore Research


I've spent the last few days working on my taxes (pictured above, along with coupons from Sunday's paper), and, believe me, it was work. Even though I have a CPA, I do the counting -- from every pay stub to every receipt, and for good reason: I write off everything I possibly can.

Yes, I’m one of those annoying people who holds up the line so she can get a receipt for her airport coffee. But if you had to pay another 15% slice of your pay to the government for the ‘privilege’ of being self employed, wouldn’t you want to count those $2 toward your deductions?

So I had a lot of counting to do, and most of those receipts were related to my shore book. Here’s what I found:

-I drove many many miles in the name of research.
-I spent the most money in Cape May, followed closely by Avalon.
-I really liked eating at the Ugly Mug, the Concord Cafe, Green Cuisine and Wawa.
-CVS was a great place to get office supplies while living down the shore.
-Renting a house with 9 other people in Avalon is much cheaper than paying for a hotel.
-I hate taxes.

So that last one wasn't exactly shore related, but I loathe doing this every year. Not only is it annoying and time consuming, but it forces me to look at my year through financial goggles. In non-shore information, health insurance cost me over $6,000, and I wasn't even sick (something I wrote about, as most of you know, for the Philadelphia Inquirer).

But I cut my magazine and book tab, and I slashed my electric bill in half by moving to a well-insulated home instead of renting the second floor of a poorly-insulated house. If you take out the 60+ mile trips to and from the shore, I drove a lot less, too, by moving to the center a pedestrian friendly town. And I've never felt better by going with a 30-year-fixed rate mortgage for that house, not just because I sidestepped the sub prime mortgage mess (I'm a contributing editor at Interest.com, so this kind of stuff is almost always on my mind), but because I get to write off all the interest on my big, heavy tax bill.

Anyway, this tax review also reminded me of all the work I put into writing my book. I should have copies in my office within two weeks (though it doesn't go on sale until May 3). I'm being interviewed tomorrow for an article about me and the book, and my publisher already sent me post cards that will be sent to those folks listed in the book. It's a bit scary to think that I'll be holding the book in my hands soon. So, authors, what was your reaction to holding your book for the first time? I imagine it'll be something like the first time I saw my byline in the New York Times, though this is obviously a much bigger project. Thoughts?

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Salar said...
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