Friday, March 5, 2010

Tax anxiety

Ever since I started working outside the home, I've had real anxiety attacks around doing my taxes. I'm talking about heart-pounding, lump-in-the-throat, cold-sweat anxiety.

Partly, this is because when I first started working I was a self-employed contractor, so I didn't have a standard W-2 or T4 upon which to base my income and deductions. I had to pull together my shoebox full of receipts and records, hand it all over to a tax professional and pray to God that everything was on the up & up.

My taxes are still complicated because I file in both the United States and Canada. Double the pleasure, double the fun. And, much as I'm proud of Canada's social system, especially health and education, I am not delighted when my entire U.S. tax return -- and we're talking almost $3,000 -- gets syphoned into the Canadian revenue system. And then some. Sigh. It sure would be nice to just spend some of that "found money."

Instead, I have to scan and mail all my U.S. information to an accountant in Ottawa who charges a hefty sum to calculate how much I owe the Queen.

So, although I get to stay in my wrinkly pyjamas and fluffy slippers today, it doesn't feel much like a day off because I'm doing my taxes. I just keep reminding myself how good I'll feel when the whole thing is filed and done with. Kind of like that joke about banging your head against a wall: why do it? Because it feels so good when you stop.

Done with my break; back to my head-banging now.

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