I started doing my taxes a few months ago, then promptly stopped when it became apparent I was going to owe money. This morning I finally mustered the courage and patience to revisit my taxes. After hours of entering all of my information I had a meltdown. I called my dad because, well, he is my unofficial advisor on all matters that I have decided are too adult to seriously pertain to me yet, like taxes. My meltdown subsided, but my anger has continued to sizzle all day.
Last year I received unemployment for eight months. I was unemployed and miserable for the better part of 2011. I did a lot of editing and some dance/movement therapy work while I wallowed in the “what the fuck am I going to do with my life” blues. By October things started looking up, but I was still far from being financially stable. At present I am gradually building my income back up to a livable range, but I am still not fully financially independent. The government has calculated that I owe them close to $2,000 because I did not have taxes taken out of my unemployment. (For the record, with unemployment, I made just over $20,000 last year.) In the midst of my meltdown over this sum, that is more than I make in a month, my dad reminded me that I am not the 1%.
I know life is not fair. I know that paying taxes is important. I usually air on the side that we should pay more taxes and have better social services for all of our citizens. I also know that I am extremely fortunate. I do not have a family to support. I have parents who are able and willing to help me. I have a roof over my head and food in my kitchen. I am slowly getting more and more work. My being unemployed could have been far worse of a tragedy than it was. I am not unaware of all the people out there truly struggling. And still, I’m angry. I was not able to fully support myself financially last year. Had I had taxes taken out of my unemployment I would not have been able to financially weather that period of time. Now that I am finally starting to find some financial stability I am being put right back into a position of panic so I can give the government far more money than I can scrape together.