Stupid Tax is defined as an amount of money spent or owed as a result of a poor choice or honest mistake made in some aspect of your business.
Most business owners pay Stupid Tax at some point. Some pay it repeatedly; others only pay it once. The thing to remember about Stupid Tax, is that when you pay it, don’t fret. Don’t beat yourself up over it; and don’t get upset. Just know you’re not alone, learn from it and move on.
To know that you’re in good company. I asked some consultants in the Direct Sales industry if they’d be willing to share some of the Stupid Tax they paid. below are some actual examples.
1. Under charged a customer for postage. Someone wanted to purchase some of our products but she lived in another country; a country that my company at the time, did not ship to. So I told her that I would order what she wanted and have it shipped to my house. Then if she wanted to pay postage for me to mail it to her, I’d repackage it and ship it to her. I think I charged her $10 to ship it. When I took it into the post office I learned that I it was going to cost me $32 to mail it! I had already quoted $10 to the customer and she paid it, so I wasn’t about to go back to her for $22. It was my fault. I had to eat it. Stupid Tax.
2. A well respected online radio host approached me about donating product for goodie bags for a very specific target market. I knew that she wouldn’t be involved with something unless it was a top-notch affair and the recipients were absolutely in my market. It was also a good cause, so I agreed to it. She needed a large number of individual donations (not samples), plus catalogs for everyone. When all was said and done, I invested about $1,600.00 USD in this donation. I never would have spent this much had I not done thorough research and felt confident it had a very good opportunity and high probability for return on my investment. However, I did not receive one single reorder or recruit, or one inquiry. It was a total bust. Zonked. Stupid Tax.
3. My company issued my 1099 in the appropriate time frame. I took my taxes to my accountant and he promptly completed my return. I think it cost approximately $300 to have my taxes prepared. After my taxes were done, a number of consultants received an amended 1099 from the company, stating that they omitted the value of awards, rewards and incentive trips earned. Because of their mistake, I had to have my accountant file an amended tax return. It cost me an additional $100 that year. Not my error, but my responsibility to pay the accountant to redo it. Stupid Tax levied against me.
4. I paid $850 to participate in a three day home business expo. I spent approximately $800 more in purchasing advanced inventory to sell at the event, plus spent approximately $200 in extra catalogs, samples, recruiting brochures and table cloths for the event, and I had to take a day off from my day job. I had roughly $2200 invested in this event. But I was hopeful to get leads, new recruits and some sales. When the event was done, I sold somewhere around $300 in inventory, which earned me $75 commission. No one booked a party and no one signed up but I did get a repeat order for $25. This event cost me $2100. Stupid Tax.
There you have it. Additional Stupid Tax has been paid over the years and will continue to be paid. We of course try to avoid paying this at all costs, but sometimes as you see, it can’t be avoided. The best advice I can offer is to do due diligence before you invest any time or money. If you’re fortunate you can keep the amount of Stupid Tax that you’ll owe over the course of your career on the low end.
About the Author: Laurie Ayers is a WAHM from Michigan and a Superstar Director with Scentsy Wickless Candles. She enjoys helping others in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, Deutschland and the UK start and maintain a candle business. You can find Laurie at https://la.Scentsy.us or https://www.ThrivingCandleBusiness.com