My 2018 Tax Summary

When I wrote for The Billfold, I shared “everything I paid in taxes” posts—and since I don’t see any reason not to continue doing so, here’s a summary of my earnings and taxes for 2018:

  • Business income minus loss: $67,700
  • Total income including interest and dividends: $67,884
    • HSA deduction: $3,450
    • Deductible part of self-employed tax: $4,783
    • SEP IRA deduction: $12,583
    • Traditional IRA deduction: $5,500
    • Self-employed health insurance deduction: $3,243
  • Adjusted gross income: $38,325
    • Standard deduction: $12,000
    • Qualified business income deduction: $5,253
  • Taxable income: $21,072
  • Self-employment tax: $9,566
  • Total federal tax: $11,897
  • Total Iowa state tax: $1,724

I ended up underpaying my federal tax by $454 (which meant my estimated tax payments were really really close) and overpaying my Iowa tax by $1,416 (which meant that my estimated state tax payments were way off).

I was able to keep my health insurance subsidy for 2018, probably because I made the maximum HSA, IRA, and SEP IRA contributions and got my AGI down to a subsidizable level. I plan to do the same thing this year; I’ve already claimed the health insurance subsidy and will max out my deductible account contributions to keep it—why pay extra health insurance premium money when you can stash those dollars in a retirement account, after all?

My Iowa tax refund is going to pay 2019’s estimated taxes, and I’ve already made my first federal estimated tax payment for 2019, in the amount of $2,820.

Soooooo… that’s how I did this year, tax-wise.

How about you?


How to Earn Money From Your Creative Work: Part 1 (of Many)

There are one bajillion ways to earn money from your creative work.

You can make a single unique piece of work and sell it for a lot of money.

You can make an easily duplicated piece of work and sell each duplication for a smaller amount of money.

You can give away your primary creative work for free, but put ads on it.

You can give away your primary creative work for free, but sell community-identifying accessory materials such as T-shirts.*

You can give away your primary creative work for free while creating an online community of financial support through services like Patreon.

You can do the above while also selling your work, i.e. you can sell the primary creative product and the T-shirt and have a Patreon going at the same time.

You can sell the rights to your creative work to someone else, e.g. a publishing house, and collect royalties.

You can sell tickets, either to watch you perform the work, to watch you create the work, or to watch you give inspirational lectures on how you created the work.

You can teach classes on how to create the work.

You can write a book about how you created the work.


But you can’t do any of this unless you have a group of people who want to give you money for your work.**

In other words, you can’t do any of this until you have an audience.

That’s where we’ll start tomorrow. ❤️

*I don’t need to explain that we wear the T-shirts to advertise ourselves as a member of a certain community or fandom, and/or to connect with other people in that community, right?

**The enthusiastic consent model works really well here.