The other thing you can be sure of in Life, besides Death...

That does it. From now on, I stop try­ing to do this myself and get an accoun­tant.

When we lived in Boston, we had a com­pli­cat­ed tax sit­u­a­tion. I was fre­quent­ly work­ing as a con­sul­tant, and worked with an accoun­tant who knew us like fam­i­ly, but even­tu­al­ly left the busi­ness (Genevieve, wher­ev­er you are and what­ev­er you are doing, I hope you’re hap­py) to make sure that I could make the right deduc­tions, amor­tize the depre­ci­a­tion of equip­ment pur­chas­es, and fig­ure out when it was best to pay esti­mat­ed tax vs. go near­ly broke in late April.

I though that after we moved to Cana­da it would get sim­pler, and up until this past year, it was. I had most­ly income from one employ­er, and we did­n’t do much in the way of retire­ment invest­ing or con­sid­er reach­ing out to a viat­i­cal set­tle­ment com­pa­ny. There was no notion of a joint return here and the forms even looked a lit­tle sim­pler, I think.

In 2007, that all changed, and I should have real­ized this fact a while back, but pro­cras­ti­na­tion of tax prep is some­thing I’ve done all my life. When you’re a self-employed per­son and keep­ing your mon­ey in your account as long as pos­si­ble is your goal, fil­ing tax­es ear­ly nev­er makes much sense, unless you pre­fer the plea­sure of not scram­bling on April 14th (the tax dead­line day for the US) . So, after 7 or so hours of agony, I’ve decid­ed that it is just too damned hard to do my own return any more. I used some soft­ware, Tax­Tron — which was pret­ty hard to use, but which did the cal­cu­la­tions, but the ques­tions were still cryp­tic (CNIC? QPP/CPP pen­sion­able earn­ings? Coti­sa­tions de l’employé au RPC? Huh?). I’m prob­a­bly going to file an amend­ed return for this past year’s mess after May 1, and for sure next year it will be under the care­ful guid­ance of a CGA (That’s what a CPA became after the move). I’ve learned my les­son. Now, if I could only get my Sun­day refund­ed back to me, since I worked yes­ter­day, albeit for the last time for a while. So much for a Spring week­end.

4 Replies to “The other thing you can be sure of in Life, besides Death...”

  1. Oh Boy.

    Just one more thing about Cana­da that isn’t per­fect, eh?

    At least your tax $$ are going towards more human­i­tar­i­an aspects than in the US .…

  2. Hi Bob -

    I don’t think it’s a Cana­di­an thing. It’s my atti­tude towards fill­ing out tax returns in any coun­try. As I said to Pam (who was frankly, exas­per­at­ed at my near pan­ic, despite the fact that she had locat­ed all of the doc­u­ments I might need — or so she thought), I don’t mind pay­ing tax­es, but I can’t even begin to think clear­ly when I get one of those ques­tions about a deduc­tion or an income source, because I don’t under­stand any of it. What’s worse, there’s no ‘reward’ for me as there is for most peo­ple, who get a refund. In over 20 years of tax­es, I’ve almost nev­er got­ten a refund. (I remem­ber that we got one about 15 years ago, and spent it on a bread machine. Now that was a reward.) I almost wish there was no such thing as tax returns and fil­ing them. Just deduct the mon­ey, show me what you you’re going to spend it on, and get on with it. The gov­ern­ment already knows what I made, what RRSP account I opened, and what oth­er invest­ments (in the same bank) have made or lost mon­ey. The fil­ing is just for the things they don’t know about (which for me, is pre­cious lit­tle).

    Ah, bet­ter to let the experts han­dle this. Life is too short to spend one more minute research­ing box 35 of form T4 or line 5 of form 1099.

  3. We always get our tax­es pre­pared pro­fes­sion­al­ly for us and get to deduct the expens­es for doing so on next year’s tax­es. Since we decid­ed to do this we’ve found we get bet­ter refunds and good advice about how to pre­pare for the next year. This may be use­ful for you because the Cana­di­an tax sit­u­a­tion is rel­a­tive­ly new to you.
    (By the way, you can blame Mul­roney for the com­plex­i­ty of the tax returns. He came to office in the 1980s pledg­ing to sim­pli­fy things only to make them more com­pli­cat­ed. Typ­i­cal.)

  4. Pam thinks the instruc­tions, at least, are big improve­ment from the US tax forms, since they are writ­ten in plain Eng­lish. She should know, being the Tech Writer in the fam­i­ly.

    How­ev­er, I am com­plete­ly con­vinced now that a pro­fes­sion­al tax pre­par­er is the only way to go. I bet I get what­ev­er we pay for it back in a refund (or at the very least, tax­es we aren’t pay­ing).

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