VANCOUVER

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

° ยป 5 day

Because we have been waiting for you for a decade

Claiming yourself as a dependent

Tax Guide

Our accountant here at Only gets some odd questions this time of year.

Umm, I don’t want to go too much into it, but I’ve got a couple rolls of toonies stuck up my ass. Can I write them off as deferred income?

My girlfriend wants to file as common-law, but I’ve been sleeping with her best friend for three years. Her friend earned less in 2004– whom should I file with?

The voices in my head tell me to burn burn burn BURN BURN! My question is: If increasing marginal tax rates and making payments to the poor reduces inequality and introduce savings dis-incentives, then by using a heterogeneous agent model with incomplete markets, can we show that higher taxes (and transfers) decrease consumption inequality but also mean savings and mean consumption?

Death, taxes, and Ashlee Simpson as the future president of the United States of America, these are the only certainties in this world. Well, that’s an exaggeration. Maybe not Death. Taxes and Ashlee for Prez, though, are dead certs. C’mon! She’s got a cute nose.

Only sent a representative to My Tax Company (mytaxreturn.ca), in the Harbour Centre on Hastings Street, where he spoke with tax managers John and Howard, who could not have been more helpful and polite. Our guy shambled in wearing his best hobo suit and they happily answered his rambling questions for half an hour. Many folks baulk at the thought of doing taxes; the sheer volume of paperwork involved and the feathering of your apartment with thousands of scraps of paper, invoices, receipts, and bills. Also, filing for tax returns like a good little citizen, that’s just playing into the government’s hands, isn’t it? That’s just playing the game. But there’s a difference between playing the game and playing the system. Claiming for deductible expenses is your right, and if you hang onto those scraps you will absolutely get back more than you expected.

For most of us in a Joe job, there’s not much we can claim for. Motor vehicle expenses, travel required in the course of your job. Expenses incurred while working from home are a solid possibility. If you earn any sort of commissions or have to travel for work-related reasons you’re in better shape. And if you operate your own business you’re in tax refund Shangri-la. You can practically claim your own steadily decomposing head as a depreciation expense. Even better news still: if you work at home or are a jobbing artist, whether actor, musician, painter, balloon sculptor, you can claim a percentage of the cost of studio rent, materials, musical instruments bought (and sold at a depreciated price) or leased or rented. Furthermore, if you do have a Joe job you can claim aspects of your soulful sideline thing against your regular job! You’re a part time entrepreneur! And if, this year, for whatever reasons, the numbers don’t quite work in your favour you can defer them until the next tax year when conditions may be better.

Obviously the drawback to all this karmic largesse is that you have to keep receipts for everything. Your accountant will suggest, or perhaps even demand, you hang onto all those bits of paper for up to six years, and this may seem impossible. However, if you do, and if you fill out all the appropriate paperwork, or your accountant for a fee will fill out the forms, you can actually get money back for having simply lived your life.

I’m a musician, on the road a lot touring, sleeping in my Ford Fiesta on a pile of merch and eating nothing but mixed malt whiskey. Can I claim the whiskey as a food expense?

Possibly. Um. Talk to your accountant–

Nuts and grain alcohol is one of the four food groups, right?

Sure, sure. See your accountant. Then probably your doctor. But you mention merch; T-shirts, CD’s– as a businessperson you can claim these material costs, and the posters as advertising,as they generate income for you–

And the whiskey? What about the whiskey? Part of my image is my fans expect me to be drunk.

Doctor, see your doctor. And maybe a shrink. What do you play?

The ukulele.

Definitely you can count booze as a cost- of-living expense.

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