Ongoing Challenge: Avoiding Jail!
When I lived in Santa Barbara I worked my first salon job and got royally screwed! It was a wonderful job and I loved it very much. However, the big drawback was the salon was owned by someone who had never been involved in the industry and didn't know how to properly pay/tax us. I was paid with a 1099 insinuating I was an independent contractor. I was also 18 and completely naive, so I just went along with this. Speaking of 18 and naive I actually believed some really terrible advice my friend and fellow stylist told me. That we made too little money for the IRS to even care about. That totally sounds like the IRS, right?
So fast forward 5 years: after being employed at another salon who had their fiscal shit together and paid me with a 1040, ensuring that all the proper taxes were taken out the IRS was like "Hold up! Where have you been since 2003?" And I was like...ehhhhhh I've been expecting you. Let's settle this already so I can sleep at night. (Which means I procrastinated another 2 months before actually calling them and seeking out an accountant.)
I saw a lovely financial wizard of a woman who saved me tons of money, and even discovered that the state of CA owes me $909..which should be oodles of fun trying to get back!
So my taxes are all done now. I filed every year I was missing (4 total) and the damage was less than half of what I had anticipated owing. Gotta love write offs..I even got to write off my dog, Jacques. My accountant told me I definitely have a case against my former employer because he most likely didn't want to pay employment taxes on us..but I really love that dude and am confident it was an honest mistake.
So lesson learned. Don't fuck with the IRS, but if you do find yourself in the position where you have to speak with them, I am delighted to report that they are much nicer and friendlier than you would think.