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After reading these boards for a bit and seeing all the support and information being exchanged, I am *perhaps* *maybe* feeling ready to ask for help getting my finances in order. If this is the wrong board for this topic, please let me know!

I'm 30 and am *just* beginning to learn how to take care of myself finacially (skills that no one in my family had; in fact, taking care of yourself financially was seen as BAD because, to my hippie artist parents, I guess it meant you were materialistic and spiritually bereft?!). My debts include about $10k student loans, NO credit card debt (as of only 1.5 years ago), and an $8000 car loan, all of which are current and I am paying.

The part that's freaking me out is this: when I started my job in 2004, I worked as an independent contractor for six months. Of course, I didn't put away the SE tax that I knew I was going to have to pay, so when tax time came, I ended up doing my taxes sort-of, realizing that I had about $6k to pay, filing an extension and paying about $1000 of the estimated balance. Normally in my work I would have expected a bonus of about $6000 July 1 this year, which I was planning on paying all to the IRS and setting up payments for what is left over (with fees and interest and whatever else I'm sure it's more by now). Well, my bonus is delayed till December, and even though I feel awful and guilty and kind of ashamed of having let it go this long, I want to get this taken care of. I don't know where to start though; I haven't even done the taxes because I thought I might be able to itemize (from what I have learned I don't think this is worthwhile). The idea of getting all the paperwork out kind of makes me want to barf. My fear of going to a tax professional is that they will just chastize me for not taking care of this, but I know that I need help.

Just reading though these boards has been comforting, inspiring and educational. Any ideas where I should start, or words of wisdom?


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