Thursday, 2 May 2013

Hurray Hurray It's the First of May!!


Today is my sister Karen's favorite day. No not because "Hurray Hurray it's the First of May. Outdoor
"Scrumping"  Starts Today!!". (Sorry this is a carryover from something I heard in high school and it resonates on May 1st each year).
No Karen is too busy celebrating the "end" of tax season. From the very beginning of January, when the rest of us are still nursing the December 31st flu, Karen launches into action. T4s apparently do not "just appear" at the end of February like I tend to think. So Karen gets us ready to get out tax stuff together so then she can weed through the mess and make sense of it for "the tax man". 
So Karen, in reverence takes shopping bags and shoe boxes from clients with a smile on her face. "Sure that's no problem, I will scrape the barbecue sauce off the Montana's restaurant receipt."  "No, unfortunately hand-crafted receipts rarely fly with the CRA".  Some people come looking for a very "
creative" tax person.  Perhaps one that will view cat food as a business expense. Apparently the elderly look at a trip to the accountant as an "outing". Karen says that many of her elderly clients bring each tax receipt individually as they are received. I am not surprised. Karen is the sweetest of the Wells girls. I understand perfectly why people come to see her often.

She then takes it upon herself to put it all together. Now I am not sure how she does this. She is my baby sister. From last I remember she didn't even know how to make toast. I hear she is all grown up. I gather this when I look at her grown children. How can Madeline be 21 if Karen is 15? 

A tax person in the family is even better than a doctor in the family. Doctors can't practice on family. Karen however is a wonderful resource. I used to do our taxes myself, until the years I was self- employed.At that point I finally had to admit, reluctantly, that if someone has years of education and experience in a particular field then perhaps they might do a better job than I. 
Now when I say I am "doing my taxes" I readily admit I am honestly just getting my shoe boxes organized and my family's forms and slips and grocery bags available so my favourite Orangeville tax person can work her magic. Nancy Pratt was born and raised in Orangeville. Her family may question whether she can make toast, but I have full confidence in her abilities. She has a host of people who work to make her job simpler. These are the people I pester before I pester Nancy directly. I realize that what I see as a very complicated mess is not such a mess to them. 
After more than a few phone calls and face to face visits I was able to explain a relatively unique rental situation leaving us with a small empty nest. I was also able to account for an absurd amount of medical expenses for Bridget's teeth and update the federal government that we now have 2 kids in Toronto pursuing post secondary education.  It went very well. Apparently the federal government is very sympathetic to our out of pocket expenses and understand that our bedroom is now in the basement. I am no longer embarrassed by what are termed "business losses". Up until this year I related "losses" to "losers" but I have rethought that this tax season.  

Now daughter Kate is not so pleased. As a self employed graphic designer for 6 months, she came to quickly understand the expression "taxes and death" as the only 2 things you cannot avoid.
It is a lesson learned the hard way  She now understands that if you don't pay tax at first, they are coming for you. .   Those are the lessons that I have found tend to stick. Poor Kate. After hearing this story Bridget was less disappointed with her refund of $9.44. 
Kevin understands, happily, that if you do pay tax, you might get some back. 

So it's May 1st. I am in Barbados with Bridget. This trip is slightly less self serving as I am teaching asthma education on this trip. More about that later. My sister is toasting with hot chocolate and baileys and relaxing on Friday before they launch back in to the taxes of the tardy.  

Good luck baby Karen. Keep smiling. When someone wants absurd deductions just find nice ways to say "no". Isn't that what our mother said about the 1st of May???
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