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Sunday, 6 March 2011

A TAXING TIME (revolting rants)

On Friday I had a local accountant do my income taxes. This is the first time I’ve had a professional help me find my way through the Byzantine maze of our tax system. The rich have always done this and benefited from the loopholes. Our banana republic even had a Prime Minister who registered his fleet offshore to avoid Canadian taxes – talk about fair play for rich and poor – wait until those poor souls in Libya fighting for their lives and some misguided ideal of democracy discover what a sham our ‘democracies’ really are.

In my experience the poor and lower income among us pay a hugely disproportionate amount in taxes. Not being able to afford expensive lawyers and accountants puts us at an unfair disadvantage in a convoluted system. We’re taxed by three levels of government
(federal, provincial, municipal) and then get hit up every time we pay for something as fundamental as heating and hydro for our hovels and gas for our vehicles (if we can afford either after being taxed and regulated to death). WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE  PEOPLE OF ONTARIO THAT WE CONTINUE TO RE-ELECT A LIBERAL GOVERNMENT WHICH HAS DONE THIS TO US? – they promised no new taxes, AND THEN IMPLEMENTED FIRST THE REGRESSIVE HEALTH TAX, AND NOW THE IMPOVERISHING HST.   Aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

I have a friend who now bakes and cooks only on weekends – she can’t afford to pay the higher hydro rates during the week. This is crazy stuff – what we’d expect someone living in Russia to have to do to survive.

Last year I had to pay income taxes on the monumental income of just over $15K. NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO PAY INCOME TAXES ON UNDER $25 OR $30 K A YEAR. Try living on under $1K a month, which is what $15K a year really means after several thousand a year is paid in property taxes, and over $1K in house and car insurances, and when 10% if taken off the top before the money even reaches your bank account.

Anyway, the accountant was efficient (and friendly), and after having paid taxes on my writing income for years (Public Lending Right and Access/photocopy), but not claiming writing expenses, my new friend led me through the guidelines for claiming self-employment. If any other writers have been as remiss as I’ve been in claiming their just due, it’s probably worth the drive to Marmora to get your taxes done  : )

An expensive scrap of land

Just over five years ago I purchased a scrap of land on a shallow tributary of the Moira River. Overgrown with weeds and dog strangler vines, I paid $13,500 for this piece of prime real estate and fancifully named the orphan ZenRiver Gardens. Sooner than later MPAC decided the scrap was worth $18,700, even though I had just bought the land after it had sat unwanted in real estate ads for years. Then MPAC upped the value to over $40K. I appealed, and last week I received notice that MPAC has adjusted its value back to just over $20K. A small battle, possibly not over, and at some waste of my time and energy and that of various bureaucrats far more valuable clockings.\

Busted Baby Boomers

I was viciously fired at age 58 in a whisper and witch hunt campaign. Not that unusual here in rural Ontario – I’ve witnessed many others. I received wrongful dismissal payments and then unemployment insurance for 1 ½ years. There was no prospect of finding another job in my field – my reputation was pretty well destroyed and my heart along with it.

Somehow I’ve had to support myself from age 58 to age 65 when old age security, guaranteed income and various health benefits will kick in. At age 60 I began collecting very minimal Canada Pension Plan benefits, but my primary source of income has been through cashing modest amounts from RRSPs. Every time I cash some meager amount from the RSPs, the government withholds 10% (so long as I cash $5K or less – 25% would be deducted if I cash more).

So many other baby boomers must also be finding themselves in similar situations – I had wanted to work, enjoyed working (apart from the hassles of being constantly rednecked) – and here we are, taxed up the yinyang while trying to eke out a survivalist living. A sadder thing is, I know of other boomers who are surviving on even less income than I am after a lifetime of contributing to society.


Conrad DiDiodato said...

"wait until those poor souls in Libya fighting for their lives and some misguided ideal of democracy discover what a sham our ‘democracies’ really are."

Well said, Chris. I know the former Canada Steamship Lines owner turned PM you're referring to.

And as for taxes in Canada, don't get me started. I don't like to merge politics with poetry, which is why I hate any form of subsidized arts (but that's me). Art should belong to the people, unaffiliated with gov't bureaucracy, untouched,& untaxed.

I'm really sorry to hear about your employment troubles.

Ed Baker said...

well 't could be worse... Her in the States
they are about to raise the retirement age to

heck as you found out noboddhi past the age of 50 can find a job now!

where are all of these extra jobs gonna come from? I, at 70 ( in about 4 weeks)
sure-as-hell can't pick cotton..... or oranges...or install sewer-lines.

so it s either jobs for the Seniors or jobs for the under 20s...

just bought a dozen copies of my new book... and have now found
10,000 ways to cook/eat Stone

let s see tonight fried onions and Stone Girl spicy!