Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Death and Taxes
Yes, the blog has been quiet recently. I spent last week (especially the weekend) gathering receipts and whatnot for my accountant. It took many many hours, to which my wife asked, "if you've spent this much time already, why not just finish the tax form yourself?" To which I replied:
1. I don't know enough about depreciation, nor the items that may have been depreciated over the last 2 years.
2. I'd feel more comfortable handing it over to the accountant (transfer of responsibility).
3. I've got more important things to deal with right now.
Now I have to find a way to pay for the taxes. And that was another thing I did this past weekend: signed the final paperwork on my SBA loan. (This is the "Death" part.)
I am now owned by the SBA. Or rather, in a few weeks, my house will be. The SBA requires they be listed on the mortgage and deed. They also need receipts to verify all money has been used "appropriately." On the last, I pointed out that the loan is "payback" on money that was spent over a year ago. Still: no receipts, no more money. And if I get any future insurance settlements related to Katrina, it gets applied against the SBA loan. None for me.
It took 18 months to get to this point. And all so I can get 4% interest on a 30-year note.
I realize the government is trying to limit fraud and to make sure that the money is spent only on replacement needs caused by disaster. But, consider this:
At the same time I completed my SBA application - October 2005 - I went to my local bank for a "GO Loan." These were special short-term Katrina-zone loans issued by banks, with no interest, but they were due in 6 months. The GO Loan had a two-page application. I was approved, and received $25,000, in about 2 weeks.
While the SBA officer was very helpful and friendly, the SBA as an organization brings to mind the worst of sadistic bureaucracies. It makes the IRS look like a model of efficiency and kindness. There has GOT to be a better way to get money to people. And don't forget, we're talking LOANS, not GRANTS. Why couldn't the local banks handle this, just like they did the GO Loans? Just a thought.
Meanwhile, I need to think how to repay the SBA Loan, which is paying my taxes, which are the price I pay for starting and continuing my practice on the Gulf Coast. My, don't I feel privileged being here right now.