Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sunday report - les impots

Boring weekend with SH gone. I ate cookies and brussels sprouts for supper last night, watched the first half of two stupid movies, then scraped the paint from the track where the door slides open on the shelves I painted last year so I could open the door and see what movies SH owns that I might want to see. Here's a good rule: When you paint $7 shelves from Goodwill, do not paint the grooves where the doors slide open. There is a reason they weren't painted before.

Here's another good rule I learned from chatting online with a friend last night: Don't ever try to talk to a drunk person. She advised me that drunk people cannot be reasoned with, which is something I should have figured out last year but I did not. In my defense, I was a little stressed out and drugged myself, not having had the best of days when I tried to argue with the Drunk Person. I will remember Rule #1 the next time I am around this person, whether he is drunk or sober.

So here's my question and it has nothing to do with anything I have already written: I want to get our front yard re-sodded. The grass is crappy and is more weeds than grass. I have seeded it a few times but can't get anything to grow. This project is on the After Alimony list, but I still want to get an idea of what it would cost.

I saw a guy tilling up a yard down the street, several rolls of grass at the ready in a pickup truck parked nearby. One guy was tilling, another was sitting on the side of the lawn, and the third was supervising. I asked how the supervisor how much he was charging for the job.

Forty dollars an hour for the labor.

One hundred dollars for the tiller.

Plus the grass.

(Honestly, it was like pulling teeth to get him to break it down.)

How long will it take?

Oh four hours or so.

Fine. $160 for the labor, $100 for the tiller, $X for the grass. Under $1000 for a yard bigger than ours.

But then I started to think. $40/hour for labor? For three people? How do you pay a working wage plus workers' comp plus insurance plus taxes on $40/hour for three people?

My guess is you don't.

My guess is this guy is paying his two people (it could have been three -- there was a fourth person there) cash, not paying workers' comp, and certainly not paying state and federal income taxes, not to mention the just open my veins self-employment tax of 15%.

And then I got really mad because why the heck do I bother to pay taxes on my cash earnings? I mean, really. I could be paid in cash, tell my friend/employer not to deduct my payment as his business expense, and just give him the incremental increase in his taxes for not having the deduction, which would be a lot less than the 15% self-employment (social security) tax I pay, plus the state and federal income taxes, which, may I remind those of you who are not married, are calculated at our top marginal rate, so I end up paying almost half of my earnings in taxes of one form or another, which means that it takes me three hours of working to net enough for a pedicure.

Not that a pedicure matters right now because it's too cold to be without socks, but it is the principle of the thing.

Man, I hate the IRS, but I hate tax cheats even more because they are stealing from me.

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