Thursday, April 16, 2009

Gladly paying one's income tax with a smile

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial Page

One thing I like about being inundated with so much American culture here is the fact that their income tax deadline is April 15, more than two weeks before our own deadline of April 30.

By the time April 15 comes around, I'm so freaked out about being late with my income tax return that I'm busy as a bee getting everything together to take to my accountant so that he can get everything ready for the end of the month. I'm not one of those people who come close to having a brain hemorrhage just thinking about paying tax, but I'm not going to give the government money before I need to, so that's why I wait until the last minute. It can accumulate interest in my account in the meantime.

I always get nervous at tax time because I'm never sure that I put enough away to pay the piper, but I always have. When you know what you're doing and have an accountant who knows what they're doing, you can write off a lot of stuff perfectly legitimately. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think of it as kind of a sport.

I think governments at the municipal, provincial and federal levels provide valuable services to citizens. Our roads are paved (even though they're in a mess right now because it's pothole season), we get cared for without having to worry about it when we're sick, and if we have an emergency we only have to wait a few minutes before hearing the sirens of the ambulance, fire truck or police cruiser speeding toward us to help after simply pushing 9-1-1 on our telephone keypad.

Governments also employ a lot of people. It's always essential to be effective and efficient, but I don't know many civil servants sitting around all day picking their noses because they have nothing else to do.

I guess I'm just one of those weirdos who thinks that -- for the most part (there are exceptions) -- our tax dollars aren't completely wasted by evil politicians who sit around in private meetings bathing in caviar, eating babies and using $100 bills to light their Cuban cigars. I'm just not that cynical -- and I never will be.

Oh, of course, there's always room for improvement. There are some politicians who are so far past their "best before" date that they should have been gone a long time ago -- either retired of their own accord or been chucked out of office by the electorate. But you know, most of the politicians I'm personally acquainted with are good people who want to sincerely do good work.

I think that one of the main reasons I feel this way is that I try not to blame others for my own difficulties. In my mind, that is a recipe for disaster because you're giving all your power away to someone else, i.e. "I have no power over myself, so I have to blame this politician or that politician for the bad things going on in my life."

Poppycock, I say! If each and every one of us took responsibility for our own lives without blaming others, we would be empowered beyond our wildest dreams. If you're unemployed, it's not the government's fault or some politician's fault. Don't give away your power to someone else. Take it back and keep it!

If we act like victims, we can only remain a victim.

It drives me crazy when I see people sitting around blaming the entire world for their problems when all they have to do is look in the mirror and know that the power to fix any of their problems resides in the person looking right back at them. That's not a scary thing at all. It's a great thing . . . because it means you can do something about it! After all, you can't control others, but you can certainly control your own actions, thoughts and dreams.

That's why it doesn't jar me much to pay income tax. I do work on the side, so I have the ability to write off some things. I claim all my income, but in return I also claim all my deductions. Someone once asked me why I didn't just do all my work under the table. Quite frankly, it would be just too stressful worrying about the consequences, and secondly, when all my deductions are taken into account, the amount of tax I end up paying isn't enough to make it even close to worthwhile trying do things behind the government's back.

I'm not a fan of sleepless nights filled with worry, nor of ending up in jail with a roommate named Big Bubba who hands me a tube of used lipstick on my first night there and tells me to put some on so that I'll be pretty for him after "lights out".

You know what? I want to eventually pay $1 million per year in income tax. Initially, many people would probably scoff at that and wonder whether or not I've lost my pretty little mind.

Well, let me tell you, folks, if I'm paying $1 million annually in income tax, you can be sure I'm making a boatload of money on top of that. And if paying $1 million per year in income tax is the price I have to pay to society, then so be it. I'll gladly take what's left over. Wouldn't you?

Paying income tax by the wheelbarrow full is not necessarily a bad thing. It means that you're making a lot of money, too. Don't forget that not so insignificant part of the so-called "problem".

Soon, I'll be paying the government for what I owe in taxes this year. And, if I work hard, I look forward to owing much -- much -- more next year. I can't wait!

No comments: