Friday, June 26, 2009

How was I to know that name was already taken?

Here are three words you never want to hear, see, or even smell: self-employment tax.

When I first began my own business, way back in the way olden days (before 2002), I had no idea that those three words could be strung together that way. Nor did I know that stringing together those three words would cost me a ton of money.

See, I was self-employed back then, and self-employed people still have to do all the things regular employees do, as well as all the things regular employers do, and one of those things is "Pay Social Security."

When you work for someone else, they pay social security, and so do you-- you both pay about 7.65% of your wages. Every hundred bucks your employer gives you, he or she takes $7.65 out of your pocket and $7.65 out of his own pocket and sends it to the IRS.

When you're self-employed, it's all one pocket, though, and if you don't know about it in advance, you get his with a 15.3% tax on April 15-- above and beyond income taxes.

That's what happened to me, and it put me behind the eight ball the very first year I was in business; I began doing my first "business tax returns" and thought "What is self-employment tax?" Then I thought "How am I ever going to come up with that money?"

Long story short, that's what happened to both the first two kids we had and my right pinky finger. That IRS doesn't mess around!

Ha! Just kidding. Mostly. What happened was a little worse: I had to set up payment plans and pay penalties and interest and it took years to get out from under it.

Years that I wasted, because I didn't know that Tax Relief was only a click away, and I could have had some professional help instead of stubbornly trying to do everything on my own. has tax specialists and attorneys who work in this area (unlike me -- I was a family law attorney at the time) and they can help with all kinds of problems, ranging from audits to tax payments, and they can even, in some cases, help stop already-taken IRS actions while they work out your case.

So I COULD have called them to help me with my self-employment tax problems, instead of taking the option I did take (changing my identity, temporarily, to "Fernando Valenzuela.") And they give free consultations, so it wouldn't have cost me anything to find out about what they could do.

Taxes are confusing and complicated -- but important. And if something's gone wrong, call someone who has the knowledge to help, like the people at

No comments: