Sunday, January 31, 2010

Contract Work and Taxes

Contract work is like being a soldier. You're working for the greater good for some large entity, but when the machine guns start roaring, you're being sent in first.

I was hired on at work. It's been 17 months in the making. I've made all the contacts I possibly could make, worked all the special projects possible, and created tools and training for other techs to do their job better.

While this was going on, I lived in constant fear of being laid off without notice. When it came time to hand out goodies during the holiday seasons, contractors were skipped. I had my pay cut with only 5 days notice, I haven't had paid vacation, benefits, or a chance in hell of getting a raise. But at least my contracting job took taxes out for me.

Sallie was considered a contractor when working at her first position early in the year. She was working hard, making decent money, but with the way they paid people, she was considered self-employeed and a contractor. When all is said and done, 30% of her wages were taxes. We thought that the $5000 in student loan interest or all the other jobs we've had taking out extra taxes would even it out, but turns out we estimated incorrectly.

We are now the proud owners of several thousands of dollars worth of government debt. Will the government let me do dishes in the back room to pay off my bill? We essentially owe what's the equivalent of a month of pay for both of us, and we have to come up with that by April 15th.

But, like we've been doing for 2 years now, we will somehow come out of this. We're just so tired of finally looking like things are turning around and then something like getting laid off or owing a ton of money to Uncle Sam always seems to reset us.

Everyone keeps saying we will look back at this and laugh and everyone says that they went through this when they first got married too, but I don't know if its exactly the same thing. Sallie and I are trying to establish a life essentially during the worst economy since the Great Depression.

I guess I should just count my blessings and be happy that I got the job when I did. I would've been laid off March 1st if I didn't get the position. If that happened and this ginormous bill, Sallie and I would've been moving back into mom's basement for a few months.