Monday, April 15, 2013

The 15th day of the 4th month

April 15th is not my favorite day of the year! 

My first job was when I was 15. My grandfather had his own business and he made me get a work permit so I could start working on Saturdays. I got paid "under the table" and made less than $50 a week. At some point, maybe when I was 17 or 18, I got paid for real, which meant taxes came out. Taxes weren't fun then, and they're not fun 13 years later. Although when I was a teenager and in college, my family's accountant did all the leg work for my taxes and that was a lot more fun than all the forms I fill out now. 

I hear of some people who do their taxes on February 1st in hopes of getting their refund ASAP. I hear of others who file somewhere between that time frame and the dreaded day of April 15 in hopes of getting their refund. They buy elaborate things (that may or may not be more than their refund), plan their summer's vacation, pay off a loan, etc. And then there are people like J and I who file on April 15 because somehow we end up owing the government money each and every year. I'd be lying if I said I'm not jealous of those people I mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph. 

When it comes to taxes, there are several things that are stacked against us. J is a minister which puts him in the self-employment category (#1). Then we rent and don't own a house (#2). Renting isn't necessary a bad thing, but there are several additional things we could write off should we own a house and not rent. Owning a house is an entirely different post in itself. In addition, it's just J and I - children and their expenses are yet a few other things we could write off (#3). When you add all those things together, it means I write a big fat check to the federal government each and every year - and sometimes I even write several checks because I have to use a payment plan. In addition, I write a smaller check (but a check nonetheless) to the state government each and every year.

I appreciate living in America, home of the brave and land of the free. I realize the importance of taxes and I refuse to discuss politics on this blog, so we won't talk about all the ways taxes could be different in this country. However, every when April 15 approaches, I usually break out in hives because I must analyze every receipt, every penny spent, and count every penny to pay. I sometimes wonder would things be different if we owned a house, had a gaggle of kids, or weren't in ministry. However, each and every time I think upon those decisions and where we are at in life, I realize that obedience to my Creator is worth so much more than paying taxes. People often ask us when we'll buy a house, when/if we'll have children, why don't we have different jobs, and each and every time, the answer is the same - obedience to my Creator is worth far more than paying out taxes or receiving a refund revolving around that ill-fated day of April 15. In His time, He consistently tells us where to take a step and how many steps to take. Those steps aren't always easy (like paying taxes), but completely worth it along the way and completely worth it in the end. 

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