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Robin Hobb's Infrequent and Off Topic Blog

Things I Did Wrong as a Writer

There could be so many things I could put under that heading!  

 

But this blog follows the previous one in talking about starting out to be a writer.  It covers the things I did right from the beginning, the things I did wrong, and the things that I didn't know existed.

 

In my previous blog, I spoke about setting money aside for income tax, both federal and state (if you live in a state that has an income tax.)  What I didn't know in the early days of my career was that I was liable for other taxes.  B&O taxes, also called Business and Operating taxes.  Even after I learned that my state had a B&O tax that I should have been paying for yeras, I didn't think to investigate if my city had one!  And, of course, it did.  

 

Now for the intelligent thing I did.  I went in to the city offices and told them that I hadn't realized I was liable for city B&O taxes, and so I hadn't been paying them.  And because I did that, they helped me fill out the forms for the previous years.  They waived the penalties and greatly reduced the interest.  So.  Yes.  Honesty is the best policy.

 

But you know what else I discovered that day?  I was operating a business in my city.  But I had no business license.  And I was operating it in a rsidential area!

 

Yes.  Being a writer in your basement and earning money is operating a buisness in a residential area.  So, I also had to sign up for a business license.  And I had to apply for a zoning variance.  Pretty silly, I know.  I'd bet that every building on my block had a computer and a printer and wifi in it.  Nonetheless, I had to purchase a zoning variance, and pin the business license to the wall in the basement. 

 

So, a word to the wise is sufficient.  From the very beginning, consider yourself a professional and yes, a businessperson.  It's so much easier to stay out of tax trouble then to try to get out of it!

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