It’s tax time! Well, not the April 15th type of tax time. But if you’re a business owner you most likely pay quarterly taxes in April, June, September, and January.
The subject of paying quarterlies came up this week and someone who isn’t a business owner felt sorry for me and said, “Oh, too bad. I bet you hate writing that check!”
I looked at him and was totally puzzled: Why would I hate to pay my taxes?
“I love paying my taxes! It’s my pleasure. This is a very good day,” I said.
Why would I love paying taxes?
The reason that comes up immediately is that it demonstrates that I’m a successful business woman. I have a business that generates revenue and makes clients of mine very happy.
Of course there are plenty of people who dread paying taxes. Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except for death and taxes.” Like those are bad things, right?
I have a special fondness for paying my taxes.
For all the years I was married, I signed joint tax returns, and it was my husband who did the earning. I was a creative, happy, homemaker and the primary parent in charge of raising our three kids. Had our match been one of those made in heaven, maybe I’d still be signing a joint tax return and not making my own money.
Being out of the workforce for thirteen married years wasn’t a confidence builder when I got divorced and moved the troops to a rental in the next town over from the house I once owned with my ex.
I remember sitting in that house wondering, “What do I do now?” I had a jobette called image consulting. I’d started it a couple of years earlier but it was a hobby, a little somethin’-somethin’ I did for me. I dabbled in it but I never expected to earn a living at it. Income from my dabbling jobette went to buying pretty linens or nice dishes.
Can I make money as an image consultant?
Being divorced meant a complete change of lifestyle. I was no longer staying at home taking care of the kids. Now I had to work and take care of the kids.
What could I do to earn a real living? If I wanted to work with fashion and style I could consider going back to retail. I did it in my teen years. Maybe I could do that again. I thought about the inflexible hours at Macy’s and I thought about my young children that were starting over just like I was. Being there for my kids didn’t seem too compatible with working for someone else. But did I really think I could make a living as an image consultant?
There were more reasons to try to expand my jobette into a real career than not to. I decided I’d try. If I failed, I’d do something else.
Setting aside money for taxes every Friday
I started thinking of my business as a real business. With that, I started a new habit. Every Friday I would take checks my clients had written me and I’d go to WestAmerica Bank in San Anselmo and make a deposit into my business account. I created a separate savings account and I transferred 30% of the total into a tax fund. I wanted to be prepared for tax days. There were some Fridays when 30% of the week’s total was not much at all. I could just as easily have said, “Forget it.”
But I didn’t. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.
When quarterlies were due, I transferred money from my savings back into my checking account and wrote the check.
Every quarter I did that, I was so proud of myself. It was proof that I was really doing it: I was earning a living (not an extravagant one by any means) on my terms. I started getting repeat business and attracting new clients. I was receiving testimonials from people who valued what I did. I was gaining self-esteem.
So this week, when I write out that check and address the envelope for the Internal Revenue Service my heart is full. I can so easily recall the first time I wrote that check, decades ago.
When I look at that thirty-five year old woman walking into WestAmerica Bank to transfer funds from savings to checking so she could pay her taxes, I see her courage and commitment. I want to wrap my arms around her and tell her, “Honey, you’re going to have a great career. Don’t worry, you’re going to make it and your kids are going to be alright.”
I love this career and the woman I’ve become as a result of it.
That’s why I love paying my taxes.