Sunday, April 27, 2008
The Rothfuss Corporation

A couple weeks ago I had the delightful experience of doing my taxes. It was extra exciting this year, because most of my money came from writery stuff. That means for the most part, I'm self-employed.

I've always thought "self-employed" had a nice ring to it. It's sort of Firefly-esque. Wear a gun, take jobs as they come, and never be under the heel of nobody ever again....

But then I found out that if you're self employed, you get to pay super double-fun bonus taxes. Because, apparently, the government hates you.

Up until this year, I've always gotten money back because I've lived well below the poverty line. This year, I got to give them money. It was, as they say, more fun than getting kicked in the throat. Mostly.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against taxes. Everyone loves to bitch about them, but taxes pay for schools, and roads, and snowplows, and sewage treatment plants. My friends have a son who is autistic, and the government helps them by bringing in well-trained people.

These things are important. If that's all my taxes went toward, I would pay them gladly. I would sing a song while writing out the check.

However, we all know that's not the case.

So, under the advice of several wise people, I've decided to start a corporation. This is supposed to prevent the government from taking quite as big a bite out of my ass for next year's taxes.

It doesn't seem right, honestly. The corporation is just me: I own it. And this corporation (let's call it Me-corp) will be employing me. That, apparently, is different from being actually self-employed. Sorry? What? How does that work?

I guess what it comes down to is that the government is really, really dumb. Dumb enough so that if I put on sock on one of my hands and use it as a puppet, it will be convinced that the puppet is actually paying the taxes, not me.

But I'm not above exploiting a loophole in the system. So all that remains is to figure out what to call this corporation. I having trouble picking a name. Names are important things, you know. They tell you a great deal about a... a corporation.

So far, the only names that I can come up with are goofy ones, like Puppet-Co. Because the thought of owning a corporation is just silly to me, I keep thinking of cheesy names and slogans. Things like:

Rothco: Our Future is Your Tomorrow....

The Badassery: Crushing Your Hopes and Dreams Since 1998

Another part of me wants to just geek out and name the corporation after something in my book. I could call it "Elodin Enterprises" Or "The Valaritas Consortium."

If y'all have any clever ideas, please feel free to list them below....

Also of note:

  • Today my book is going to be listed in the New York Times print edition at #11. It's probably not such a big deal for you, but I've been excited to see it....
  • I've been really surprised by the response I've had to The Contest. I've already received over a hundred entries, and decided to push back the deadline because some people heard about it late and asked for more time. New deadline is May 4th. Clever readers will realize that this opens up the possibility of taking pictures on Beltane.... I'm just sayin'.

Later all,


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posted by Pat at


Anonymous BloodEagle said...

Rothfuss Inc.

Notorious Novels (Is this taken?)

I can't seem to come up with anything else that's serious.

April 27, 2008 11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could use my unique de.strategy (patent pending). Open, click on Zufälliger Artikel and look for an impressively sounding combination. For example: Reibungslosen Innerbetrieblichen Inc.

Of course if you actually speak German this isn't as amusing as it is for me, but who cares?

April 27, 2008 12:21 PM  
Blogger Althalus said...

I sort of like the sound of Chandrian Limited or Chandrian and Co.

April 27, 2008 12:23 PM  
Blogger Northeast Iowa Mom said...

Yep. That's Alliance meddlin' for ya.

I love Puppetco, Inc., personally! Reminds me of Bradbury's Marionettes, Inc. (Electric Grandmother Productions, anyone?)

I always wish I had been the one to think up Industrial Light and Magic. One of the all-time great corporate names.

And the WORST corporate name I have ever heard is Kum n Go, a chain of stop-n-robs here in Iowa.

April 27, 2008 12:31 PM  
Blogger Northeast Iowa Mom said...

I also love the de.strategy!

April 27, 2008 12:36 PM  
Blogger Northeast Iowa Mom said...

My hubby points out that your sock puppet will have to have a board of directors. I would be pleased to serve.

April 27, 2008 12:38 PM  
Blogger Nathan (NeutralAngel) said...

I really know NOTHING about this, so this is a totally honest question... Since the biggest drawback to a corporation is double-taxation (the corporate entity must pay tax on profits, then the employees of the corporation pay tax on the same money), how will this save you money? Again, I ask only because I'm very curious!

I vote for Elodin Enterprises.

April 27, 2008 12:48 PM  
Blogger Tarah said...

PatCorp: Because LuthorCorp just isn't badass enough.

April 27, 2008 1:17 PM  
Blogger Lynne said...

Kingkiller enterprises.

How kick-ass is that?

April 27, 2008 1:23 PM  
Blogger M.Q.Zed said...

I guess different states have different tax laws. But here where I live self employed is usually the best way to save more on taxes because you can claim on everything from your utility bills to the new shiny computer... and since you are a writer you can probably claim on every single book you buy during the year (yes the The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Official Game Guide is purely for research).

Plus you have to take into account that, maybe, with the actual pro-corporate government in the US things are the way they are. But if there is a government change in November things might change for the corporate world in terms of taxation.

But if you do do it, then I'd vote for althalus' Chandrian and Co. idea.

April 27, 2008 2:49 PM  
Blogger Rae said...

I don't know, tagging something from the book sounds hilarious and appropriate.

After all, no one's ever said a corporation can't cater to a fandom.

Elodin Enterprises gets my vote.

April 27, 2008 3:01 PM  
Blogger Wes said...

How about:

Gorram Taxes Inc.

April 27, 2008 3:12 PM  
Anonymous Sam said...

Rothfuss Fried Chicken?

April 27, 2008 3:30 PM  
Blogger chris said...

Fuss, Inc: Come see what the Fuss is about.

April 27, 2008 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to second the, 'is this really going to help you tax wise?' comment. The corporation would still be paying tax on the money (in some cases more) and you will then also have to pay a 15% tax one it again when you pay yourself dividends.

Essentially you'll end up paying the same even without the self employment tax, and in some cases more.

However, you will lose out on the ability to draw on the social security benefits when you retire if you do not pay the self employment tax. Really, it is just the government forcing you to save for retirement (in theory).

Also, there are stricter requirements for a corporation than an individual taxpayer. You will be required to draft income statements and balance sheets either quarterly or yearly. Unless you can do this yourself you will have to hire an accountant to do that as well for you.

Of all the reasons to incorporate tax benefits are not on the top of that list. I recommend speaking to several more wise people.

April 27, 2008 4:41 PM  
Anonymous ToddM326 said...

My votes are for:

-something Chandrian related.
-something Edema Ruh related.

Or my personal choice: "Waystone, Inc".

April 27, 2008 5:24 PM  
Blogger Trish said...

Darn, I was gonna say Chandrian...send a copy of the book along with your taxes next year, highlighting the bad stuff the Chandrian do..

April 27, 2008 5:42 PM  
Blogger Summer said...

You could call it 'The Establishment' ... that way, when people rebelled against the establishment, there'd actually be hating your very own company! You'd be famous!
... Or not.

April 27, 2008 6:13 PM  
Blogger Johanssen said...

hi! about your questions on taxes... that's funny,because i'm actually passing an examn on fiscal laws in 2 days(in canada, but usa laws have big similiarities.)
i would like to clarify a few points. First of all, the government is not stupid, it LETS you do that if you wish to(also called, a choice). If you do, you just have to file the proper forms and stuff.
about double taxation:
yes, if you were to create a corporation(by this means i mean a "societe de personnes, a corporation in english?), the corporation is indeed, for the fiscal law, considered as a unique person. As such, it will pay taxes, and if the corporation gives you back money in the form of dividends, you will have to pay taxes on it again.

BUT, -and i assume this is the case-, so long as you keep money in the company, it's worth it. Really. We've done the differents settings in class, so trust me:D. However, if you pull out all the money out of the corporation, dont bother.

that put aside, havent read your book yet,but it seems..interesting.

April 27, 2008 7:31 PM  
Blogger Johanssen said...

thinking back about it, i withdraw what i said, since while i have seen -quickly- usa laws, and i know that canadian ones are similar, it is still not the same, so ...nevermind.
i would second a comment from one blogger, just go and see a fiscalist expert, it shouldn't cost you so much.

but, i would like to point that, if you ever get to read the actual laws, written on the law book(huge big thing), it is often stated that you -may- take such and such choices if you want to save up money. Sadly, most people are not aware of them, but it IS the GOVERNMENT that offered them to you. So, no, governement's aren't stupid, it's just that people don't know fiscal laws, and they think that a choice willingly offered for them, in order to save them money, is a loophole.(but hey,i understand, i don't know how to write,since i didn't take classes on it, so.... that's how i'm going to get a JOB next year =p).

April 27, 2008 7:39 PM  
Anonymous Kalligenia said...

Chandrian Enterprises.
Kvothe, Inc.

You could also pick a name that will provide an awesome acronym. I'm not very good at coming up with names myself, but I know there's a lot of clever people out there that are!

April 27, 2008 8:10 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

Umbrella Corp. LLC?

April 27, 2008 9:00 PM  
Blogger Mary J. said...

I liked Kingkiller enterprises best. It could have a double meaning too- king=government. ;-)

April 27, 2008 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

I see no reason not to name your corp after something in your book. Look at fantasy goddess Mercedes Lackey...her company is called Firebird Arts and Music. (Note, people, you must buy one of her filk albums or you will never forgive yourself.) I'm fairly certain that it was named after her book Firebird. E'lir Industries has a ring to it, no?

I don't know exactly how it works out when forming a company as opposed to being self-employed, but I know that it is a clear benefit. When my mother retired from nursing and went to her crafting as her full time work, her lawyer told her to do the same thing. She's basically the CEO of her own company now and makes a decent amount doing something she likes. If I lived closer to her, I'd join her and just stay at home and knit and read all the time. I can dream, right?

Hey, I sold 2 copies of the paperback to the same lady yesterday. We have it on the employee recs at my store and she picked it up. I told her how fantastic it was and she said she was going to read it and then give it to her son but decided to get him his own copy instead. We'll get you in that Number One spot yet!

April 27, 2008 10:15 PM  
Blogger Erik said...

Got it.

"The Arcanum"


April 27, 2008 11:30 PM  
Blogger Major Sheep said...

At #11, you Mr. Rothfuss, rock my socks and their adjoined puppets.

I'm also looking into creating a nice little tax shelter for my freelance earnings, but I've got some ideas to help name yours:

Redfoot Enterprises
Ruh the Day Ltd.
The Eolian Corporation

Or you could set up an unremarkable corporation named Rothfuss Endeavors Inc., from which you could spin off dba's for your specific ventures. For example, Ruh the Day would handle all of the troupers you employ to entertain houseguests, Redfoot Enterprises would be the mead distillery, and I think Althalus' The Chandrian Corporation would be the front for your international operations and covert technological developments.

Just a thought.

April 27, 2008 11:44 PM  
Blogger Brian Blomlie said...

I thought "Rothco" was actually kind of cool XD

April 28, 2008 6:13 AM  
Blogger pivany said...

How about HELLMOUTH INC. BTW I loved your book. I can't wait to see where the story goes next. I'm so happy to see it doing so well! Congratulations on the success.

April 28, 2008 6:35 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

How about The Pat Rothfuss Kung Fu Action Beard Company?

Kvothe the Ravin' Inc.?

Pat Rothfuss Is Awesome Co.?

No This Is Not A Tax Dodge Incorporated?

Patrick Rothfuss Loves All The Fine Foxy Ladies, LLC?

The Save the Homeless Microwave Burrito Foundation?

Oh, okay, now I'm just getting silly. Inc.

April 28, 2008 6:47 AM  
Blogger TK42ONE said...

Why don't you call it the "Pat and Neil Share" Partnership. That way I can give you my bills and you can give me your profits. Then you'll still be below the poverty line and I'll have some extra money.

April 28, 2008 7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a little experience in the business world. I'm currently the admin manager for a small company that a family member created for his 'self employment'. One of the benefits here is that there are a lot of expenses that are written off. Say for instance, you work from home, that becomes a write-off because you are 'renting' an office. If you use your phone for business related calls, it is then paid by the business. Nearly everything you might do could be considered a business expense, thereby diminishing the profit of your company and in essense, your corporation taxes. It you were to take a trip you can have a per-diem rate, where your company reimburses you for food and lodging, also an expense. That means that most of the money you take in form of a salary, is left for the things that you want it to.
Ex. this past year the company I work for pulled in 400k, but after all the expenses, we showed only a 30k profit. That's what the company paid taxes on.
There are some benefits.

April 28, 2008 8:30 AM  
Anonymous marky said...

tthe Mushroom corp. we feed all our staff shit and keep em in the dark!!!!

April 28, 2008 8:32 AM  
Blogger Mike Toot said...

The corporate double-tax thing is true if you issue dividends to shareholders. The trick is that, as an employee, your salary just so happens to suck out all but a couple of dollars of profit remaining after expenses have been paid. No dividends, no double-taxation.

Check with a financial planner or two about the pros and cons of corporations. Your state may have "LLC" (limited liability corporation) available that combines the best features of partnerships and corporations without as much paperwork and is designed specifically for small business owners. There are also several books at your local Big Box Store that can help educate you with very little investment of time (or money, should you decide to purchase). Note that the book purchase is a deductible business expense. :D

Disclosure/disclaimer: I was an attorney in a former life but only got a B- in my tax class in law school and never practiced tax law. I am currently the sole proprietor of my own (non-incorporated) business and despite expensing the hell out of things still managed to pay hefty taxes this past year. You've been warned.

April 28, 2008 9:23 AM  
Blogger word fencer said...


-Company, Inc.

April 28, 2008 9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"One of the benefits here is that there are a lot of expenses that are written off. Say for instance, you work from home, that becomes a write-off because you are 'renting' an office. If you use your phone for business related calls, it is then paid by the business. Nearly everything you might do could be considered a business expense, thereby diminishing the profit of your company and in essense, your corporation taxes."

This is true regardless. Pat is able to take all of these business expenses without incorporating, he *is* in business already.

"The corporate double-tax thing is true if you issue dividends to shareholders. The trick is that, as an employee, your salary just so happens to suck out all but a couple of dollars of profit remaining after expenses have been paid. No dividends, no double-taxation."

In this case you still have to pay Social Security taxes for yourself *and* the corporation has to pay it on your behalf. You even lose the slight tax deduction that you recieve from it if you had paid it as self employment tax. Net tax effect = negative.

I am the same person who posted the "I'm going to second the, 'is this really going to help you tax wise?' comment." post. I just want to say that I am working towards an CPA I have completed the Income Tax portion (two semesters) of the BS degree requirements, and I am a 4.0 student. I do not have much real life experiance with this, but, there are no real tax benefits to doing what you are thinking about doing without doing things in a shady manner (in most instances).

April 28, 2008 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would look into contributing more towards a retirement account under the small business statutes. Sure, it is tax deferral, but I believe with a small business you can put more pre-tax money in than a 401k. Thus reducing the amount you can be taxed on now. Then, when you (if you) retire, pull money out of the retirement account as normal, and you should be back to the lower tax bracket. If you start corporation, you can contribute money to a 401k to lessen the taxable burden. (It is also deferred taxes.)

Just my $0.02.

April 28, 2008 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Forestednight said...

Lenre volvit Halifax, Corp.

volvit means "turns" in latin.

April 28, 2008 1:14 PM  
Blogger Anthony Drake Mocony said...

A Silence of Three Parts Record Company.

I'd buy a CD from them...

April 28, 2008 1:57 PM  
Anonymous B3N J4MM1N said...


Hate to use the full name on that one, but "Pat" doesn't have a K in it and it does sound more professional...

April 28, 2008 2:25 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Shoeless Pat, LLC
Pumpkin Hollow Productions, LLC
Hope for Humanity, LLC
Sumthin or other, LLC

Isn't the LLC better, tax-wise? I say, check into that. :)

And is it just me, or are these word verification things getting harder? Or maybe I'm turning into a computer.

April 28, 2008 3:06 PM  
Blogger Kelly Swails said...

Garden Gnome Inc. *snicker*

Though, I think something from your books would be completely appropriate. Lots of good suggestions here, but I especially like Waystone Inc. Or, you could name it something from a future book and enjoy all the internet speculation on the topic. *evil laugh*

April 28, 2008 3:10 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...


You should've heard how excited I got when I read it.

April 28, 2008 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're going to do it, you should totally make it a smart a** name. I'm really loving the Kung Fu Action Beard one. Actually, a lot of suggestions by that poster were funny. I also liked your puppet one. I say make the name show your personality.

April 28, 2008 10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bullshit Inc
Serving the public since 4500bc!

April 29, 2008 2:03 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

You could also name it after the shrewdest businesswoman in your book-- Devi's Arcana and Loan: Blood Cheap since the days of Lanre and Lyra!

April 29, 2008 7:49 AM  
OpenID coldstormrising said...

Ooh, I like Heather's idea, too.

April 29, 2008 10:13 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

I say you should call it Unicorp - since it's just you, see. Oh ho ho.

April 29, 2008 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Gareth said...

Hows about
The Rothfuss Treasury (ltd). After all thats what its designed for. LOL

Or the obvious, Anti Pat Tax (insert a sordid word for a carnal act.) It would make you laugh every year you had to fill it in and at least you're being honest about what the companies for.

April 30, 2008 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Orvidos said...

Windblown Press
Binder & Binder

In all seriousness, I'd have to probably go with:

Sympathy Printing

*Shrugs* I really can't think of anything serious for taxes.

May 5, 2008 3:58 PM  
Blogger Steve Weyerts Jr. said...

If you need to list employees, you could always tell them your Muse works for caffeine wages. And don't forget Kvothe. You're paying him hard hours in exchange for a story.

May 6, 2008 1:33 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Sympathy LLC

Because the book is magical and the company feels your tax pain so you don't have to.

I would also support Major Sheep's
Ruh the Day

or Heather's
Kvothe the Ravin'

Please do let us know what you decide!

May 10, 2008 3:37 PM  
Blogger Steve Weyerts Jr. said...

I've been thinking about this again. No Sympathy, Inc. has a nice ring to it. You could always open the Waystone Inn. Maybe one day it could be a real business.

May 10, 2008 4:59 PM  
Blogger Andrew Lavigne said...

Pat, I may point out that since you can count your area of work as "entertainment-based" it's possible to write off ridiculous things such as gas used in writing-related travels, fares/meals for such travels, books, and even television or computer stuff.

I'm not an author, but I am self-employed with an events group and know that you can get away with that much.

May 13, 2008 7:40 PM  
Blogger JT said...

I'm curious who your tax advisor is on this issue, as there are some serious complications that can arise from pursuing a corporate form for your business activities. Incidentally, go with Qvothe, Inc. as the name.
As for self-employment taxes, its not because the government hates you, its taxed additionally to make up for the fact that your income isn't previously taxed for Soc. Security, Medicare, etc. like employees of other businesses. Without self-employment taxes, the self-employed in America wouldn't be eligible for Soc. Sec. and other government benefits later in life.

May 15, 2008 10:01 AM  
Blogger JT said...

can't spell, obviously, but i meant Kvothe Inc.

May 15, 2008 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this would work:

Pat Rothfuss Inc.-Naming the wind one letter at a time

May 15, 2008 6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just finished Name of the Wind and and am re reading.

I suggest Yamabuki Inc.

Yamabuki is a small wildflower that grows in Japan.

I came across it in another great book called Fox Woman by Kij Johnson

luck to you all


May 20, 2008 10:43 AM  
Anonymous kellye l. parish said...

I dig Elodin Enterprises, but whoever suggested Waystone Ltd, Co, etc...that's a pretty kickass one too.

And Ruh the Day :)

I totally vote for naming your corp. from the book. But then, I'm a total geek. And that's totally what I would do.

June 1, 2008 5:58 AM  

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