Today starts the week in which I complete my final exam for my Income Tax Planning course. Every exam I do through these courses always come with a bit of anxiety. I’m usually behind on my studying and have to spend a chunk of the week catching up in addition to completing the exam and the time crunch makes my blood pressure a little higher than normal. But I usually get it done and am reasonably happy with my grade, especially after reviewing what I got wrong and either finding the mistakes easy to correct or realizing that if I ever had to calculate amortization schedules I would have ample time to figure it out for a client.
But this Income Tax Planning course is making me more nervous than usual. True I am a bit behind. I have a few short chapters to read that will most likely be done by the end of the day tomorrow, but this is the first course where a hefty chunk of the material was honestly difficult for me to understand. The second half of the class involved a lot about the Alternative Minimum Tax and Like-Kind Exchanges and Depreciation. All are complex tax problems and some of the largest reasons why people are begging for tax reform.
I feel comforted that most of my clients are unlikely to be making enough money and investing enough in the stock market that I will have to deal with the Alternative Minimum Tax. And also that if they are lucky enough to own property that could be part of a like-kind exchange I would have ample time to help them figure out all the tax consequences of such an exchange.
But it’s this damn depreciation. Granted, we artists don’t own construction equipment or do any oil exploration, but we own computers and light and sound gear and projection screens, all of which qualify for depreciation. I’m understanding it better and know that I could figure it out quickly now if I was asked about writing off depreciation of a new iPad or laptop, but I imagine the questions I encounter on my exam will be slightly more complex than that.
On a non-financial note, I got to speak to my good buddy Holly today. She starts a literal world tour with the Cirque Michael Jackson show. Holly is best described as a woman who knows no bounds in achieving what she wants and a world tour is exactly how she should be used as a stage manager since she handles obstacles easily and good-naturedly and is a nomad at heart. She would be a gypsy if we lived in France in the 1800s.
I will live vicariously through her.