Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Tax Time

If you're a Canadian reading this post and haven't filed your 2017 taxes yet, you're late. But I won't judge you.

I'm almost always late. In some cases, by several years. A few years ago, DW and I sat down with a tax expert as she sorted through six years of tax neglect.

Fortunately, because I live in Ontario but work in Quebec, where the taxpayer is usually more heavily parted from his or her hard-earned dollars, I almost always end up with a substantial refund, and so I don't sweat missing out on my filing deadline.

Usually, we purchase tax software and do the work ourselves but because DW and I had been so negligent for all of those years, we hired someone to sort through our files for us. Last year, for the first time in ages, we filed our taxes, together, on time for the April 30 deadline.

We procrastinate. We hold off on the dirty work until we absolutely have to do it (or, as in those previous years, we say "fuck it" and stash away the paperwork).

On the day that we receive our first T4 slip, we tell ourselves that this year, we'll be on the ball and do our taxes the moment we have collected all tax slips and have organized all of our receipts.

It never happens.

As midnight approaches on those April 30s where we actually do our taxes, I stress over finding all of my slips, over whether or not I have everything and have input the right numbers in the right boxes. As the tax program shows the running amount due or owed, in green or red, as we punch in numbers, my heart pounds and my head grows dizzy every time I see a red figure, no matter how small. Before I enter my Quebec Relevé 1 amounts, I nearly pass out as my amount owed appears in the thousands of dollars.

I know that the numbers will change to green as soon as I type those R1 figures, but the anticipation is often more than I can handle.

This weekend—the last weekend before the 2017 tax deadline hit—I found myself doing our taxes alone. I didn't begrudge DW's Mexican resort getaway with her besties from high school: they were all hitting milestone birthdays and deserved to have some fun. It's not her fault that we procrastinated until the day before she left.

It's only half her fault.

She left me access to her online accounts, told me where I could get her tax slips, and then headed south.

I started the paperwork on Saturday, with my side of the forms. All went smoothly: because I only have a couple of slips, my work is pretty straightforward. Only green numbers showed.

I logged onto DW's tax account and ran into some skill-testing questions: names of people; middle names. I thought I knew all there was to know about DW, but I tripped over every question. With only five attempts allowed before I was locked out, I started to panic.

Four guesses, all of them wrong.

Modern technology is a wondrous thing: on Sunday, through a FB video chat, DW gave me the answers and with only one attempt left, I got in.

Her final numbers were in the red, but the amount was less than a family night out. Still, I don't like to see red where money is involved.

By the end of the day, Sunday, our taxes were filed, amounts owed were paid off, and I could close the tax folder for one more year.

Even just thinking about that gets my pulse up.

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