Posts Tagged ‘Willie Nelson’

Plus Tax

October 12, 2012

Thursday October 11th, 2012 – Mt. Prospect, IL

   Whew! What a sense of sheer relief it was to bring my box of tax receipts into my accountant’s office this morning. I felt like I just got a clean bill of health after a complicated biopsy and went to the dentist and only needed a cleaning both on the same day. It was like walking on sunshine.

I really worked hard at getting all those records in order, and my accountant looked at what I’d done and nodded in approval which is a major accomplishment as he’s a pretty quiet guy. “Well, you’re getting better,” he said. “Now we just have to work on getting you to do it a little faster.”

He’s totally right, and the good feeling I had standing there knowing I’d done my due diligence really put me in a great space. I know it was right, and I felt the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders as I walked out of his office. I didn’t cheat anyone, and I did the best I could with what I had. I saved my receipts, and he’ll take care of the deductions. If I owe anything, it will be paid.

I don’t know how I’m going to pay, but I’ll do what I need to do and that’s all I can do. At least I got the wheels in motion, and I can’t feel any better about it. I’m not going to make any shallow promises, as I’ve been down that road before. But I know I fully intend to overcome this problem once and for all, and that will start by just being smart and keeping my records more organized.

Why I didn’t do this before is still a mystery, but I don’t want to go over all that painful ground again and again. I want to start completely new, and I told my accountant my goal is to become a model customer and the example he uses to the rest of his clients on how someone can transform. I want the head of the IRS to call me on April 16th and comment on how stellar my return was.

This is an amazingly important part of show business, business in general and American life in general. Like it or not, (and nobody does) income tax is part of our lives. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon and fair or not that’s how it is. Why make it worse by bungling the process yearly?

I remember hearing horror stories from comedians over the years who hadn’t filed their returns in decades, if ever. Two prime examples have now died, and I guess they ‘won’. But I know a lot of entertainers have had big problems with the IRS from Willie Nelson to Redd Foxx to so many others. Wesley Snipes comes to mind and I’m sure there are a lot more. It’s all a needless waste.

Dealing with what isn’t fun is just that – not fun. But it is necessary, and the true greats always find the way to do what’s best in the long run even if it sacrifices pleasure in the short run. I have seen the light after today, and I really do feel like a new man. I believe in my heart I’m changed.

I believed that after I got my diabetes diagnosis and completely changed my life as far as what I ate and how regularly I exercised, and I’ve stuck with it and feel better than I ever have. I don’t see why I can’t do the same and completely transform the way I handle my tax situation as well.

This way, when I do eventually hit that windfall I’ve always dreamed of I’ll handle it correctly and not have to feel that lump in my stomach I’ve felt so often before. This was a breakthrough.

Old Home Weak

August 15, 2010

Tuesday August 10th, 2010 – Chicago, IL

I have a new show business goal. I would like to be the first entertainer in history to get a reputation for having his income tax situation not only clean, but immaculate. For every Wesley Snipes, Willie Nelson, Redd Foxx, Joe Louis and so many others, I’ve personally never heard of anyone who’s on top of it year after year. I’m sure there must be, but who?

For me, it’s been a life long pain in the I.R.- ass. A flair for math has never been one of my talents and my organizational skills are even worse. Saving fifty cent toll road receipts for months in an envelope to add up in April has never crossed my mind as a fun activity.

I know it’s a necessity in life and especially in my own business as an entertainer so it’s to the point now there’s really no excuse at all. I’ve had a lifetime to master this but I feel no closer to having it aced now than I ever have. I was maybe halfway decent for a couple of years, and they weren’t even in a row. Depending on how goes my mood, so do taxes.

This year, I’ve really let it hit the skids. I thought I was ahead of the game and had a big head start, but now I can’t even find my files at all. I’m talking about for 2009, as the IRS is sending me multiple letters telling me they haven’t received my 2008 return, which is a mystery because I paid my accountant to do it as I do every year. Somehow, it’s been lost.

I really didn’t need another stop to make before heading out to sea, but I went to see my accountant to hopefully clear this all up. He showed me my return from 2008, and I don’t owe the government any money. He made a copy, I signed it, and he said he’d send it out.

He’s a very laid back soft spoken guy, and pretty typical of what one would think to be an accountant type. He’s very Jewish, but that’s a good thing. I don’t want an accountant who’s half Swedish and half Jamaican. Give me a Jewish guy to handle my tax situation. I’ve trusted him now for probably ten years or more, and he knows how flighty I can be.

He pointed his finger at me and said “NO false promises this year, Mr. Comedian. Get yourself a better system of keeping records. You know what you have to do – now DO it.” He’s so right. I just wish it was that easy. For some reason I seem to have a mental block. I always say I’m never going to let this happen again, and then it does. I’m embarrassed.

I fly out at 6:20am tomorrow, and I come back next Sunday for two days before doing it all over again. He told me to bring my paperwork in Monday or Tuesday and said it’s not doing anyone any good to keep filing extensions every year. He’s right, but I guess I feel I get a little reprieve from the government or something by doing it, so I do. It‘s a crutch.

Little does he know, when I got home I wasn’t able to find my paperwork for the life of me. I’ve moved everything around countless times recently as I’ve been clearing out all of my sports cards, sorting laundry, whatever. I obviously had to have put them somewhere, but I sure couldn’t find them today, no matter how hard I looked. I’ll find them when I get back, and take them in and get it done like I always do. But I really need a better system.