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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
           Monday, April 14 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmasterDeath and taxes

Yesterday had to be my tax day if I were to beat the April 15 deadline, and even if I got it done on time it would be late. That's because I was "self-employed" for three quarters of 2002. I didn't want either the self-employed part of it much less the three quarters of the year. I was "self-employed" because the company I work for would take me only as an independent contractor, which meant then that I had to be my own "company." I'm lousy company, especially in the business sense of the word. I don't deduct taxes weekly, monthly, or even on the quarterly schedule the IRS requires the self-employed to follow. That's why I'm going to be paying a "late fee" even though I should be able to send this huge check (the biggest real check I've ever written in my life) before the Tuesday deadline.

The three-quarters-of-the-year part of it is already known by those who read and pay attention, but I know this is no more permanent than the liner of your birdcage, so I don't really expect that you remember I had a 90-day hiatus from late September through December. That was required by the fact that I was an independent contractor, even against my wishes, and that IC's can work only a certain number of months in succession on the same job, until being forced to take a rules-mandated 90-day break.

The fact that I worked only three fourths of 2002 meant my income was substantially down compared with that for 2001. But despite that, my obligation to the IRS is virtually equal to the one I owed last year, also despite the fact that I had a huge deductible payment of mortage interest in 2002. The seeming unfair extra tax is a result of the fact that, in 2001 about one-third of my income was generated by an independent company actually employing me for four or five months, so I was "self-employed" that year for only a little over half of it. If you're self-employed, the bite on your income for social security (the feds call it "self-employment tax") is bigger than when you work under a regular employment arrangement. So I will pay as much tax on an income down $10,000 compared with the previous year's.

Of course in today's economy and reading the unemployment statistics, I can't complain. In that sense, paying taxes is a privilege many of today's unemployed would gladly suffer. Still, having spent much of Sunday working with the help of a friend on my tax return, I'm forced to a sad conclusion:

Some wags say death and taxes are the only unavoidable realities in life. If so, sometimes it seems the latter at least helps make the former seem easier to face.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

 You know you're a Pennsylvanian if...

Words like "hoagie," "crick," "chipped ham," "sticky buns," "shoo-fly pie," "pierogies," and "pocketbook" actually mean something to you.
You can eat cold pizza (even for breakfast) and know others who do the same. (Those from New York find this "barbaric.")
You not only have heard of birch beer, but you know it comes in several colors: red, white, brown, gold.
You know several places to purchase or that serve scrapple, summer sausage (Lebanon Bologna), and Hot Bacon Dressing.

— Sent by Mary Ann Losiewcz

Lenten thought for today

The Rules of a Good Life (first of two parts)

What are the rules for living a good life?

In the first place, to love the Lord with all one's heart, with all one's soul, and with all one's strength.
Then to love one's neighbor as oneself.
Then not to kill. Not to commit adultery.
Not to steal, not to covet, not to bear false witness.
To respect all people. And not to do to others what one would not wish to have done to oneself.
To deny oneself in order to follow Christ. To be master of one's own body...
To help the poor. To clothe the naked. To visit the sick. To bury the dead.
To assist those in distress. To console the afflicted.
Not to let anything come before the love of Christ.
Not to tive rein to one's wrath. Not to meditate revenge. Not to harbor deceit in one's heart.
Not to offer a pretended peace.

— St Benedict of Nursia, c. 480 - 547
Quoted in Daily Vitamins for Spiritual Growth, Anthony M. Coniaris

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