"Will Work For Taxes"

Sorry if I can't get too upset about the government's latest effort to freak us out with fears of fiscal Armageddon. First there  was the Fiscal Cliff -- a non-event...then some other scare which I've forgotten, and then the dreaded March 1 sequestration, which cuts government spending by 5 percent or some such. God help us all!

I've got bigger problems -- and so do you, I'll bet. A mere 5% does not even register in my personal economy, my household sequestration. My fearsome date is every year at tax time, when my budget is cut by 50 percent.

When  I was a corporate employee, I never worried about taxes at all. It was taken from my check and I never gave it a thought.

Now that I own a very small business and have to actually write check to the IRS for my taxes, I pay more attention.

Guess what: It sucks!

Being self-employed, I pay twice as much for Social Security and Medicare taxes -- I pay as the "Employer," and I pay as the "Employee," even though both are -- me!

Then there is federal tax, plus state and local taxes,  plus property taxes (not to mention Indiana's 7 percent sales tax).

Plus the incredible paperwork burden imposed on all businesses to comply with IRS and state regulations. It's ridiculous. The smaller the business, the more this compliance costs on a relative bases. (If I had 50 employees, it would cost only fractionally more as it does with just a few employees).

So I pay a CPA to help me with all of that, so I can focus on my clients.

Also, I pay into a state Workforce Development fund, which provides grants to Indiana companies for training. But not to companies like mine.The grants tend to go to the largest employers -- the wealthy corporations that need this government transfer of money the least! I pay so GM or other corporate giants can get state grants to train employees. Small businesses like mine don't get this training money -- no return on what I put into the pot.

Equally, I pay unemployment insurance, just like every employer -- but I am not eligible for unemployment if business dried up and I laid myself off. Again, I pay in with no potential benefit.

Add it all up, and I keep only half of the net income I earn before taxes. Actually less than half. But let's round it off at 50 percent.  And in these recessionary times, I work twice as hard to earn it.

I am not whining at all. I want to pay my fair share. We need the military to pay for our defense, police, roads, etc., etc. And there are many benefits to owning your own business, although as I write this particular article, I can't remember what they are. Working for 50 cents on the dollar is a little discouraging sometimes. We all know how hard it is to earn a dollar these days. I have to earn two dollars in order to have a dollar to spend. I wish my 4 kids understood this when they ask me for money!

OK, I guess I am whining after all.

Steve Cebalt, Highview LLC

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