When my pay was direct-deposited into my checking account every two weeks while I was working my first full-time freelance job, I’d think, “Wow, that’s a decent amount of money. I can totally live off this!”
No one ever told me (and I never bothered to ask) why my paycheck seemed so large, so I lived it up for an entire year—eating out, going to plays, buying new clothes and taking trips.
Then April rolled around: tax time. In all fairness, I knew that I hadn’t been paying taxes on the money I was making as a freelancer. I just had no idea how much I actually should have been setting aside from each paycheck. I now know that I should have been saving at least 33% to 35% of every paycheck to put toward taxes. Hindsight … you know what they say.
In the end, I owed a little over $3,000. My accountant practically cried when she gave me the news—and a full-blown panic attack.
Well, it turns out that I’m not the only one befuddled by taxes—especially now that the new tax laws have been put in place for 2013. We found three readers to share their own horror stories in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, it will never happen to you.