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Living with Schizoaffective Disorder

Happy News

I never thought I'd see the day.

Michael David Crawford, Baritone,

June 16, 2008

Copyright © 2008 Michael David Crawford. All Rights Reserved.

I'm sure you will all be pleased to hear that I paid off $AUTO_COMPANY today, where $AUTO_COMPANY is equal to Ford Credit.

You will also be pleased to hear that I resisted the urge to entitle this diary "Ford Credit Can Kiss My Fat Hairy Ass". I wanted to, I really did, but that just wouldn't be polite. As with the old joke about the frog and the scorpion, it is the nature of creditors to hassle debtors who are late on their payments. I don't blame them exactly - I just had to find ways to avoid getting my Taurus repossessed until I could pay off the loan.

We're planning to sell it once Ford sends me the title. It's a station wagon, which served the purpose for which we bought it, but it gets poor gas mileage and so has become too costly to drive. That also means it might be hard to sell. The Kelly Blue Book value ranges from $2,350 to $2,830 depending on the condition. It needs some repairs, which we plan to make before we sell it. It has some dents and scratched paint but is otherwise in good condition.

I recently read in the newspaper that it has become impossible to sell used Sports Utility Vehicles, and that even very old economy cars are skyrocketing in value.

I know a lot of you give me a hard time for skipping out on my debts, but the only other alternative would be bankruptcy, in which case none of my creditors would be repaid. The fact is that I am steadily - and very aggressively - paying down all my debts. Everybody is going to get their money, but I'm not earning enough to pay them all at once.

I have already paid off Canada Revenue Agency for 2004, and am now paying California for 1999 and 2000. I owe the most money to the Internal Revenue Service - I'm not paying them yet, but I will.

Based on my progress at the piano these days, I estimate that I will be debt free once I can play well enough to pass the entrance audition for music school. I'm much more careful with my money than I used to be - I haven't bounced a check in years - and I have gotten used to living very inexpensively, so I think I'll make it just fine both as a student and a musician.

If you're wondering how I got into so much financial trouble, it came from starting a business with the mistaken idea that I only needed to know how to write code to be a successful software consultant. Even though I earned good money at first, I managed it very poorly: I didn't have the first clue about accounting or business taxation, nor did I keep my checkbook up-to-date. I bounced many, many checks - not intentionally but honestly because I didn't know how much money I had - and I fell way behind in my tax payments.

Further compounding my troubles was that when the tax authorities wanted their money, the monthly payments I offered were far more than I could really afford to make. I didn't know that they would accept any amount that would get them repaid within the Statute of Limitations deadline, nor did I even know what the deadline was. The result was that couldn't pay my current taxes because I was paying so much for my previous taxes.

One day I got a very special surprise visit from an IRS Revenue Agent at our home back in Owl's Head, Maine. He said I had come to their attention because I was, as he put it, "pyramiding". While I did make some payments on my IRS debt, my account was later taken over by a second Revenue Agent who marked my debt as uncollectable - after a very thorough examination of my books.

It seems that it's not an actual crime to simply fail to pay taxes - it's a civil offense, for which I could be sued, or have liens placed on my property. I've always managed to stay out of real trouble by being scrupulously honest on my tax filings. I have made some mistakes on them, especially early on, but always filed amended returns when I discovered my errors.

I expect the IRS is going to come looking for their money sometime soon. When they do, I expect that I'll be able to finally pay it.

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