Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Are you a writer? (PSA)

We all know that the way to identify a real writer is certainly not through quantifiable rewards like money and glory, or even necessarily published work. It's the writing that defines a writer: the doing it, the loving/hating/gnashing of teeth of it, the throwing up your hands and snapping at loved ones of it, and the joy of going back to it again in an hour (after apologizing to loved ones).

However, I fear that writers, real as they are, don't always take themselves that seriously when it comes to finances, and I'm actually quite worried that people are filling out their tax forms both incorrectly and disadvantageously.

No, don't surf away!! This is boring but not *that* boring! If you made any money at all on your writing last year, read this. Yeah, the tax laws are confusing and might not be relevant to you right away, and yeah, this document does contain daunting headings like "Reasonable Expectation of Profit," but it might still be worth reading. All those submission stamps and software and research might well be deductible, if you look into it.

And some of it is sort of sweet, in a bureaucratic way:

The nature of art and literature is such that a considerable period of time may pass before an artist or writer becomes established and profitable. Although the existence of a reasonable expectation of profit is relevant in determining the deductibility of losses, in the case of artists and writers it is recognized that a longer period of time may be required in establishing that such reasonable expectation does exist.

And it *is* sort of fun to put "writer" on the tax forms. No, really (did I mention I don't get out much?)

I was paralyzed

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