Nothing makes me feel more Canadian than the annual accounting ritual of filing my income tax.
This event characterizes the stereotype of my national identity because whether I make too much money (fat chance) or earn too little (skinny truth), I am somehow apologizing for my meager existence.Either way, I’m going to pay for it and I will be sorry.
I file a personal business claim as a freelance writer on top of my full-time gig, which means the government should love me twice as much as the average Canadian.I have an entrepreneurial spirit, but I am also a full-time, employed tax contributor.So basically, the government should be showing me big love. Crazy love.
Of course, I’m not at all bitter that last week the Advertiser posted the “Sunshine List” for my municipal government, where I was reminded again that my years of post-secondary education and a serious work ethic earned me a not-quite-coveted spot on the border of the poverty line, while others rise to the sky. I don’t begrudge many of the people on the list because frankly, I wouldn’t want the daily politics or the momentous responsibility of their jobs. No thank you. I believe some of them even earn their salary.
Just be glad this newspaper doesn’t publish an “Overcast List” or you’d all have to see what it’s like on this side of the fence. It’s not pretty.
The problem is, for all my worldly aspirations, I fell in love with the bad boy of writing/journalism, and was seduced by the dream that one day, this would pay my bills. The reality is, it doesn’t – unless you have several income streams and one really sturdy canoe. So, I have become an effective paddler, metaphorically speaking.
The government doesn’t see that though. They are a fickle lot. At the risk of enduring an audit, which would be more like an autopsy of my potential, I have kept all my paper ducks in a row. Quack.
I have decided the first step to making the government love me is to make my tax consultant happy. I know that if I make her life easier, with colourful folders in a fancy accordion file, neatly stacked paperwork, highlighted receipts and pretty spreadsheets, she will be less likely to laugh at my pitiful income statements and more likely to help me source out the loop holes (at least this is what I tell myself).
Then, like we do every year, the Carpenter and I will sit side by side like first-graders in the naughty chair of the principal’s office and await the news of whether or not this year we will come up on the sunny side of the balance sheet.
Because I am a Canadian, I won’t get too riled up about it either way. If I get a tax refund, I will use it to pay for the things I could not earlier afford because of, well, taxes. And if I don’t get a refund, somewhere deep in my mangled psyche I will be grateful for the knowledge that my tax dollars have afforded me the quality of life I enjoy here – you know, when I’m not working.
For that reason alone, the tax man should love me.
Writing has been my passion since I learned how to hold a pencil (which I still cannot do properly). Despite my father’s insistence that I would starve to death in this career, I remain well fed and eager to write more. They say you should do what you love: I love to write.