tax time

I spent quite a bit of time yesterday and today slogging through tax information. Trying to figure out where we fit and what our income would be and how much, if any, we need to pay. Very confusing. It made me appreciate the past ten years (or so) that I've had no income except gifts from people. Gifts are not taxed; I found that in one of the tax guidelines. I also found out that any money that is received as a bribe must be reported as income. Seriously. Income from selling illegal drugs must be reported, too. I wonder how much compliance they get with those?

I'm sure the money given by the farm and bakery here will be considered wages by the IRS, even though we leave them free to give or not, and don't have an agreement that we will be paid a certain amount. So we should probably have it reported to the government. But we're still well below taxable income, and won't have to pay any federal or state tax. Which I'm glad about. I don't support tax resistance, "give to Caesar" as Jesus said. But I'm not impressed by what they do with the money so I'm glad not to be giving them any.

The thing I didn't think about before was social security. It looks like we'll have to pay that, on both the farm income and the value of the retreat/living space that the church provides. It's a significant amount, but I don't feel too bad about that. Again, I think we should pay the taxes that are required. I also think we can trust God to make up the difference when we're doing what he told us to do ("pay taxes to whom taxes are due"). And social security (and Medicare) seems to be one of the better uses of governmental money, going to the elderly, with many low income elderly depending on it. I'm not sure how I feel about drawing it myself. I seriously wonder whether I want to encourage the belief that the government will take care of us when we are in need. I'd actually rather decrease our government dependence and increase our dependence on God instead. But I still feel okay about giving this money for the care of the elderly, even if I never get any of it back.

One nice surprise was finding out about the "earned income credit," which helps people with low incomes. We qualify for that. So, even though we won't owe income tax, we'll get the credit, which can be applied to the social security that we need to pay. So, actually, we'll be taking some money out of the general tax coffers and transferring it to social security. Heh.