Some Not So Interesting Facts about Tax Time

 

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.

Benjamin Franklin

ben franklin

 

Every year about this time we have to mentally prepare ourselves for tax season.  For some, a refund is in your future; for others, a chunk of change is doled out to the dreaded IRS.

tax checklist

This got me thinking, when did this yearly chore begin, and why?

 

So I went to IRS.gov and researched a little history about this annual affair.  Maybe with these tidbits of information, April 15th won’t be such a stressful event.

1862

A brief history

The roots of IRS go back to the Civil War when President Lincoln and Congress, in 1862, created the position of commissioner of Internal Revenue and enacted an income tax to pay war expenses. The income tax was repealed 10 years later. Congress revived the income tax in 1894, but the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional the following year.

16th amend

16th Amendment

In 1913, Wyoming ratified the 16th Amendment, providing the three-quarter majority of states necessary to amend the Constitution. The 16th Amendment gave Congress the authority to enact an income tax. That same year, the first Form 1040 appeared after Congress levied a 1 percent tax on net personal incomes above $3,000 with a 6 percent surtax on incomes of more than $500,000.

In 1918, during World War I, the top rate of the income tax rose to 77 percent to help finance the war effort. It dropped sharply in the post-war years, down to 24 percent in 1929, and rose again during the Depression. During World War II, Congress introduced payroll withholding and quarterly tax payments.

IRS

Today

The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 prompted the most comprehensive reorganization and modernization of IRS in nearly half a century. The IRS reorganized itself to closely resemble the private sector model of organizing around customers with similar needs.

tax prep

Well, there you have it in a nutshell.  Income taxes are still a stress factor in our lives, but to be an upstanding citizen (and not go to jail) we must do our part to participate in this event.  And maybe this was interesting to the history buffs and Tax Preparers’ out there.

With Hugs and Hope

Diane

 

 

 

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Life is a Journey

I travel, I read, I write, I have other lives. But when I have a camera, I know that’s my country, my island.

Leos Carax

costa rica 3

 

I woke up this morning with allergies in full swing, which let me know Spring is in full progression.  Which means the weather is getting warmer and the Summer months are just around the corner.

gardens3

The travel bug has hit, and it doesn’t help that my beautiful daughter, who lives in Costa Rica sends her breathtaking pics and posts them all over my social media page.

costa rica 1

Surviving on a budget like we do, can make the idea of a vacation seem financially daunting, and the  expense of travel can blow our budget through the sky and seemingly out of reach.  Here are some ideas, that might help this dream become more attainable and maybe the trip can be an adventure in itself!

airplane

The flight:   The cost of flying can be so unpredictable, and does require planning and shopping around for the best deals.  Spirit Airlines offers very low rates, the planes are smaller, so you are sitting closer to your neighbor, and if you are checking in luggage, they charge for every bag.  This is a good way to fly if you just have a carryon.  And since we are traveling on a budget, who needs all that luggage anyway?  Also, Spirit is a fairly new airline, and has minimal destinations, but they are continually adding new stops.  I actually used Spirit in the past to get to Chicago, and my daughter used Spirit to get to Costa Rica.  The flight is a little rough, but the staff is very friendly.

I also came across Cheapoair.com.  It works basically like Cheapflights.com or Priceline.com.  Just put in your destination and dates and it spits out a list of airlines and prices.  Speaking of Priceline, if you aren’t committed to a time frame for your vacation, you can use the Name your Price option to get that flight on the cheap.

fly

Getting around:  Renting a car can get expensive and inconvenient, and taxis run up the budget meter in no time flat; check schedules for local transportation, like the bus or transit system- it can be exhilarating!   In some areas they offer moped or bicycle rentals for short journeys, much easier to maneuver especially in an unfamiliar town or country.   Each town is different as far as local transport.  I couldn’t find a one stop shop for this, it all depends on where you are going; just look up local transportation for that area.

motor scooter

Where to stay:  This can be an adventure on its own!  There are many options out there for the thrifty traveler; Hostels can be a great way to meet new people. In Europe, this is very common; sharing a room and facilities with others.  They can be same sex or mixed, depending on your preference.  Hostels.com, Hostelworld.com and KAYAK.com are some of the websites I found to reserve your bunk.  Airbnb.com is also another option.

hostel

If you really want to be boho chic, there is couch surfing.  This is basically staying in someone’s home and ‘sleeping on their couch’.   I know some hippie chicks that have done this.  Just carry your back pack and travel across country and couch surf on a student’s budget.  There are websites you can register to be a host or to find a couch to sleep on.  Of course, safety is a priority.  Sites like couchsurfing.com have a page dedicated to safety.

couch surf (3)

If you plan on staying somewhere for a while and want to save your pennies; there is the option of house sitting.  You basically stay at their house for free while they go on vacation, and take care of their animals, garden, etc.  I  know a retired woman who does this and has for years.  She has stayed all over Europe and parts of the States.  Each job can last a week up to a few months. Housesittersamerica.com is a good place to start if this is the way to go.

garden

There are so many options out there to travel on the cheap.  Just a little creativity and an adventurous spirit can send you on your way to a memorable vacation!

With Hugs and Hope

Diane

 

Jumbot

My Mother-in-Law, when my kids were little was Sicilian.  She taught me so many tricks to feed a family of six and sometimes more on a tight budget.

Pasta was the mainstay of almost every meal, but sometimes we had to switch it up.

The kids called it JimBob- after our late Labrador Retriever that lived to be 16.  (I know, twisted sense of humor)

jumbot

One thing that is so awesome about cooking Sicilian, is you can change up the ingredients.

When the kids were little, we used sliced  hot dogs for the meat.  This version I am using Turkey Sausage.

Jumbot

Enjoy!

The Envelope System

 

 

I had really forgotten how to budget.  I haven’t had to do it in 7 years.  Not really. 

accounting

I have always prided myself in being the Spreadsheet Queen.  Every penny went on the budget.  You have to; otherwise it can slip away at the drop of a bad spending decision.  I have managed to get myself in quite the credit card pickle.

A good way to drown out a person’s true emotions.

sec 3

I have always managed to take a negative situation and learn from it.  So, when I got credit happy again and lost my job in 2008, I really had to look long and hard to make it.  When I did finally get a job ( I was at the end of my rope, of course) I made just enough to pay the bills and live on $40 a week.  With a teenage daughter in tow

 

 

So, here I am again.  My checking account is overdrawn and my work hours have been cut way back to one or two days in a pay period.  Not exactly survival money.  I know, I needed some time to get better, but this stubborn redhead can’t stay down for very long.   I think a good word to describe me would be tenacious.

laundry cute

 

I’m doing laundry in the tub and making Scooby snacks for the pooches with granola bars.  I am sure there might be too much sugar, but, you gotta do what you gotta do.

My wonderful son gave me some allowance, so I can purchase things I need.  It reminded me of re teaching oneself discipline with money.  The envelope system.

You take envelopes and divide up your cash for bills and necessities.  Mine are bus tickets, furbaby supplies, misc. and for a rainy day.

This works so well, it helps to actually see where your cash is going and helps to start thinking of ways to cut back on things you don’t really need.  The basics of budgeting.

wash

I finally stepped up to the Laundromat.  I used the suitcase with wheels and handle to take my favorite bus.   Makes it so much easier to maneuver; when I go grocery shopping next time, I am taking my bonnet with wheels.

 

Hugs and Hope

Diane

 

gmas spaghetti