May 19th 2010
Outright.com, the online bookkeeping service for the small, self-employed entrepreneur, recently announced the winner in its contest for who could come up with the strangest or most interesting excuse for needing a tax extension.
There were 30 participants in the contest, vying for a prize purse of $500.
The winner, Debra Robison of Rudy Media, explained that she had to move in February to accept a new job, a writer-in-residence position. Then a sudden injury sent her to the hospital for a week. While in the hospital her dog ran away, was found, had an incident with a small child, and Deb was asked to move out of the in-residence house and take her dog with her. A break-in occurred in the house, adding to the excitement, her prior injury reoccurred and she had to return to the hospital, causing her to lose her job because she couldn't keep up with the work while hospitalized. During the hospitalizations and residence changes, her financial records were in storage, thus the need for the extension.
Other contest entries included descriptions of failed adoptions, problems with software, confusion with tax laws, too many hours in the workday, new baby, computer crash, recent divorce, preparing for graduation, overworked, cat threw up on accounting records, no time, no sleep, accountant moved away, no money to pay an accountant, and the list goes on. You can read all of the entries, some sad, some entertaining.
Tales of woe are nothing new to Outright.com. The company provides business owners with the opportunity to track income and expenses, calculate taxes, and prepare and send out 1099s. "It's about cash-based accounting. There's no chart of accounts, no debits and credits, no jargon," explained Kevin Reeth, Outright.com's co-founder and CEO.
According to Reeth, the typical Outright.com users " are people who have to do everything themselves. Spending nights and weekends dealing with accounting software is not where they want to spend their time."
Outright.com launched in July, 2008. This is the first year the tax extension contest has been offered. Reeth sees the contest as a way to build a sense of community. "A goal was to see where do people get excited, what kind of contests pique their interests, what are their shared problems."
The contest was promoted on Outright.com's Facebook page. The company also encourages users to ask questions and share solutions on its site. "Self-employed people tend to be very collaborative and supportive of each other." The company is also active on LinkedIn and Twitter. "We're learning as we go," said Reeth. "We're just being out there where the customers are."