Sunday, April 7, 2013

taxes, taxes, taxes

"Tell us, is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
But Jesus knew that these men were trying to trick him. He said to them, “Show me a silver coin. Whose name and picture are on it?”
They said, “Caesar’s.”
He said to them, “Then give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”
Luke 20:22-25 Easy-to-Read Version

It's that time of year. If you haven't filed your income taxes yet this year, you only have a week left. And if you waited this long there is a good chance it is because you know you owe taxes so you are going to wait until the last minute. Or you just procrastinate.

Yesterday I attended a Book Festival in Minnesota. My dear friend Phyllis had learned about this event and since it was just down the road from where she lives, I decided this would be a good chance to go see her and sell a few books (and deduct the whole trip as a business expense).

I hit a snag earlier this week when the organizers of this event said that I had to collect Minnesota sales tax and that I needed a Minnesota tax ID. I live in Wisconsin, I pay and collect Wisconsin sales tax. I don't know anything about Minnesota sales tax. After I received the second email from the book fair organizers reiterating that yes I needed that Minnesota tax ID, my first impulse was to just cancel. Not even go to this event. How many books would I really even sell? How many people would I get to tell about my book and the trip? Would it even be worth it?

Then this passage from the Bible came to mind. If I need to charge and collect sales tax, then that is what I need to do. That little bit of money does belong to the government, but everything else, every bud on the trees, every drop of melting snow, every smile on every child's face - that all came from God and all belongs to Him.

Sometimes it is easier to throw in the towel, but sometimes the right thing to do is pay what you have to pay and return the rest to God. And at the end of the book festival yesterday, it all turned out just fine.

1 comment:

Susan Marlene Kinney said...

Oh Chris! I imagine that was a hard decision but I'm so glad that you did go to this event. What an opportunity and I'm sure that you have great memories and possibly new friends! Wonderful photo!