Sunday, February 17, 2008

Full Metal Taxationist

I went to go see my Canadian doppleganger Hayden Christensen in that Jumper movie last night. I can think of a couple times within the past week I would have liked to have some teleportation powers. I would rather have been anywhere else when my wife and I were doing our taxes. She pretty much runs the finances in our house so when she said we needed to report the toy robot selling I did on eBay last year, I just went along with it. I was really pissed off, though. I don't know of a single other person who reports their eBay activity as income and I didn't see the need to do it either because I wasn't doing it as a business. However, she thought the measly $1,800 I pulled in from selling toy robots last June was something the IRS needed to know about. I'm still a little pissed off but the more I read about it the more I realize claiming the income is worth the piece of mind. I figured I may as well cave in and pay my robot taxes now instead of living on the lam where I'll really need teleportation abilities to run from the IRS.

I still feel totally screwed because no matter how much I insisted this wasn't a business, the tax preparer kept asking me questions pertaining to the eBaying as if it were. She wanted post office shipping receipts, eBay invoices, Paypal invoices, internet bills, estimates on how much time I spent writing auction descriptions and she even wanted to see "inventory records" when there were none because my "inventory" was my collection. She wanted to see receipts for when I originally purchased the toys to compare them to the auction end prices. "IT'S JUST A HOBBY!" I kept saying. "IF I WERE RUNNING A BUSINESS I WOULD HAVE KEPT TRACK OF ALL THIS SHIT BUT I DIDN'T BECAUSE IT'S JUST A HOBBY!" From my lack of record keeping it should have been totally obvious that I was no businessman but in the end I ended up paying $200 in robot tax to the IRS for my toy robots "business". Fuckers!

What I did learn is that only the profits for what I made on eBay were taxable and there's certain ways to figure what defines profit margin. The reason tax lady wanted all those other numbers was to cut down my profit margin. Stuff like eBay fees, Paypal fees, shipping fees, time spent on the computer, internet bills, and the original cost of the items sold could all be deducted from the gross income I made on the auctions. I doubt I'll ever sell anything on eBay again, but if I do I'll keep better track of crap to lessen the Dinobot sized butt raping I get from the IRS. It all seems so unfair especially since I didn't see Hayden Christensen's character in Jumper pay taxes on all the money from the banks he robbed. But just as Wesley Snipes has learned, this is real life and no matter what movie star action hero powers you have there's no escaping the IRS.


Heavyarms said...

The state of Louisiana expects you to keep track of everything you buy online and, if you didn't pay sales tax on it (for instance if you buy something from South Dakota), pay sales tax on it to Louisiana when you calculate your Louisiana income taxes. Never mind that you're filing an INCOME tax return.

Anonymous said...

My wife really enjoyed your blog. Also, that's why I don't sell anything on eBay anymore.

Evil King Macrocranios said...

That Louisiana sales tax would be outrageous if it were actually enforceable. I would pass some sort of legislation (and name it something like proposition R5D4) to get rid of that crap.

And Richard, I like hearing that I occasionally write stuff that appeals to people who don't necessarily live la vida robo. I occasionally wonder if anyone who isn't all hardcore about toy robots could find my writing interesting or at least tolerable. It's nice to know she found something in there that she liked.

Heavyarms said...

See, that's what scares me. I can't see how its enforceable, but every year for about two months after I file my state taxes I fear coming home, seeing my back door kicked in and MIB boxing all my robots up. "Mr. Heavyarms, you didn't pay sales tax on these, they are now property of the State of Louisiana."


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