Financial problem solved; church harmony restored

I was working part time as a self-employed janitor for a small branch Church of Christ, Scientist, where I was a member. In my third year as janitor, I was elected First Reader for our church and started receiving a weekly honorarium. It was not a large amount, but this additional income alerted the Canadian IRS. After examining the church accounts and my taxes, the IRS decided that the total income from the two paid positions, plus the fact that I had neglected to submit invoices and receipts for my janitorial services made my status “employee” rather than “self-employed.” As a result, the church was assessed a small financial penalty, and I owed the IRS years of back taxes from wrongful self-employment deductions.

I didn’t sweat it because although I was also working as an artist, I still hadn’t established myself in the art world, so I figured that if the penalty was proportional to my earned income, it couldn’t be that much. In fact, one IRS auditor who took a look at my tax returns asked, “How on earth do you survive on the money you earn?” Therefore, it was quite a shock when I was told that the sum of money I owed was equal to two thirds of my yearly income plus three years of accrued interest on the amount! It just seemed insurmountable, and I began to panic about how I was going to pay. 

No time but God’s
February 3, 2020

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