Thursday, February 05, 2009

Taxes and the Superbowl

I'm neck deep in the joy that is taxes. Don't get me wrong, I giggle at the thought of getting our refund check but...I've spent the last couple of weeks pulling together expenses. Scouring receipts, emails, invoices. Yes, I realize my life would have been easier if I'd done this on a regular basis throughout the year. I think we've established that I'm a procrastinator. :-)

It probably wouldn't be so bad except that I've been dealing with quarterly tax reports, year end tax reports, W-2s, 1099s....all for my day job as well. I think if I see another report containing a string of numbers my eyes are going to permanently cross. I am going to be so happy when April 15th rolls around and I can put this behind me until next year.

The question then becomes, what do taxes and the Superbowl have in common? Nothing really...except a commercial. One that I kinda liked. While seeing death make an accountant sweat was a little funny, that commercial wasn't my favorite. The Doritos crystal ball commercial was. It was brilliant - and apparently the winner of a contest. The spot - reportedly produced for around $2000 - has earned the brothers who made the commercial one million dollars. But they weren't the only ones to win, Doritos sure scored big with one of the most talked about spots from the game.

Always a staple of the big game, Budweiser didn't disappoint either. Their spot featuring a Clydesdale fetching a tree branch in order to earn a treat was a close second for me. But what was really amusing was the separation at my sister's house during the game. The boys were upstairs watching the game while the girls stayed downstairs hushing the children every time the commercials came on. The game was dang good! And I really did enjoy watching it. But the commercials are the highlight of the game for me.

Do you have any tax stories to share? Are you neck deep in numbers? Or did you watch the Superbowl? Do you have a favorite commercial?


P.S. Susan picked Angel as the winner of her book. Please contact her with your snail mail info to claim your book.


Playground Monitor said...

Let's don't talk about taxes, ok? I've pulled out my folders and I'm sure the DH will dive into Turbo Tax next week. Of course, I still don't have a 1099 that I need. I should call them about that.

I didn't watch much of the game, except that 98 yard touchdown. And that was when the DH rewound it on the DVR. And while I can't tell you what my fave commercial was, I can certainly tell you what it wasn't. The Teleflora commercial that slammed romance novels. They got an email from me about it and responded with a weak apology and a $15-off coupon. And from what I'm hearing, I"m not the only writer who complained.

Problem Child said...

There was a football game?

My receipts for 2008 are in a pile in DG's inbox. I don't do math. Period.

But can I squee that I have writing *income* instead of just outgo this time?

Anonymous said...

During the year I put anything related to tax stuff in an envelope in the front box that I use to file my bills, etc. So at the end of the year, I pull that envelope out, and anything that I receive in the mail during January I put in tax envelope, gather it all up and get it ready for the tax person.
And yes, I did watch the superbowl. I liked the stick commercial by Budweiser, grease monkey and favorite was the one about the various pets that people have and "Don't you want a dog?". Grandma chasing her emu had me rolling on the floor.

Jen said...

Thinking about taxes makes me want to stick my head in the toilet. I don't keep up with it. each year I swear I'm going to and then I back slide. Ack!

Susan Gable said...

My husband is meeting with our accountant even as we speak. We have a business to do taxes for, too. Thankfully the busienss stuff is all done on the computer, and after a few years, I'm finally getting the hang of Quickbooks.

So we've been frantically getting everything together for a while now.

You know, when the people who are supposed to run this government can't get the tax thing right (as evidenced by several of them lately, including the guy who is now supposed to be in charge of the TREASURY, for goodness' sake) then that's a big indication that something is WRONG! It's too darn complicated!

I'm not holding my breath that they'll change that anytime soon, though.

Instigator said...

It IS too dang complicated, Susan. I know I'm missing some deductions simply because I haven't kept up with them - like mileage (have some,sure there's more). And can I deduct the hair appointment I had before getting my head shots done for my publisher and website? What about the dress I bought that I only wear at nationals? I probably won't deduct those becuase I'm not entirely sure. I think Zilla thinks I'm too conservative when it comes to the IRS but...I have a healthy fear of being audited. Not sure where it comes from though - my grandfather used to work for the IRS.


Rhonda Nelson said...

I'm pretty good about keep up with my stuff. Actually, I keep good records on the computer, but am not so good at keeping up with the receipts, which could be a problem if I'm ever audited. I do have an expand file that the various receipts go into though. :-) Some of them actually make it in there...

Playground Monitor said...

I can answer some of your questions. The dress is NOT deductible because you can wear it other places. It doesn't matter that you don't; it matters than you can.

Mileage to RWA meetings, to the airport to fly to conference, your airline ticket, conference fees, national and local dues, hotel rooms, office supplies that pertain to your writing -- those are all deductible. Also promotional items, website and blog prizes, postage and mailing supplies. I bought a new monitor last year and that will be deducted. New computers are deductible too, but I think there's something about depreciating them over time? Again, check with your accountant.

One tip though (check with your accountant) -- when you stay overnight for something writing-related (i.e. national conference) you can take a per diem deduction for meals instead of keeping up with actual costs. The amount varies by city and I'm sure San Francisco probably has a high rate. The DH does that for me and I come out ahead because I never spend as much as they allow me to deduct. Go to and click on Per Diem rates. If you don't use the standard deduction for meals, then you can only deduct 50%.

If you have a separate business telephone in your home, that's deductible. If you only have one line, it's not. You can, however, deduct your business-related long distance phone calls.

The hair appointment is real iffy and probably not worth the risk. The cost of having your press photos taken is deductible.

Vacation travel can also include some deductions if it meets certain criteria. My trip to Atlanta in December included a lot of research on locations I used in my NaNo book. I stayed in the hotel where my H/h went for their honeymoon. I ate at a restaurant I used as a model for one I invented in the book. I went to Tiffany's and browsed because the H bought an engagement ring there. I ate lunch at the Varsity because that's where my hero loves to eat. I had fun, but I also took a lot of notes and photos.

I'm trying to find a way to make my trip to Curacao deductible, but foreign travel has its own set of rules. I have a year to figure it out. ;-)

Angel said...

Don't get me started on taxes. Luckily, we have an accountant because my husband owns a small business. Unluckily, she questions every last one of my writing expenses. If I could just sell a damn book, I'd be happy... or should I say SHE would be.

I usually watch the Super Bowl, but not this year. The hubby went to a friend's house to watch it, so I didn't get to see the commercials. Sounds like I missed out on some interesting ones.

Thanks for reminding me about the mileage thing! I need to go back and add up how many trips I made to the post office and such. Add that to my growing tax pile...


Smarty Pants said...

Sigh... my tax software came in the mail yesterday, so I'll probably do it this weekend. I spent a whole night logging receipts and expenses into my handy dandy spreadsheet so I should be ready to go. Just hate doing it...

I watched the Superbowl, every frustrating second of it. I did like the Budweiser commercials, as always. There was a funny one for career builder that I liked too. Guess it doesn't make sense unless you're living in a Dilbert Cartoon like I am. "If you hate going to work, your boss thinks you're a jerk...."

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Taxes? Oh heck. Though I sold last year, I didn't get any money until this year. So, a big fat loss again, and that should thrill the IRS to no end.

My understanding about clothes is that they pretty much have to be theatrical. Something you could not wear anywhere else for any reason. If you can wear it, even if you don't, it doesn't count. But that's my understanding and I'm not a tax person. :)

I forgot all about mileage for 2007, but won't for 2008. And the tax person I saw didn't mention per diem. I will not be returning to her. I could file an amended return, but I hate to upset the IRS over a couple hundred bucks or so -- you know?

Playground Monitor said...

Alabama is one of many states where tax preparers don't have to be licensed. The legislature is working on it though. I just saw a news clip the other night. A new law would require passing a proficiency exam, get a license and enroll in continuing education to stay abreast of ever-changing tax laws.

You have to have a license to do nails, cut hair and keep someone's children. But there's no such requirement to prepare someone's taxes. Sheesh.

catslady said...

YAY STEELERS - I'm from Pittsburgh :) I enjoyed the remake of the Mean Joe Green commerical and all the Budweiser commercials.

Christine said...

Taxes will be interesting for us this year due to move and all those crazy deductions. Fortunately, dear hubby handles that ... I save receipts and file.

Superbowl... gladly missed it this year due to my DH's travel schedule. I was able to hang out, watch HGTV, and blissfully not pretend to like it at all.