My Friends are my RoseBouquet
(What WAS The RoseBouquet (blog) has now moved HERE - Part of the Static Site)

Doing Income Taxes

Lots of people are thinking they need to exercise more. I don't. Well, not really. I've got an achey elbow, and a full agenda of more urgent things (to me) to do. So I've had in mind to list my exercise bike, which I have not even tried to use for several years, on Kijiji for sale.

Would you like my exercise bike? It still works fine. But mind-less activity just doesn't fit into my lifestyle. Gardening in the summer and shoveling snow in the winter is about the extent of my exercise plan.

I had managed to drag it to the front porch Saturday before last. So taking photos of it was on my to-do list for today. Just get it done, girl!

As I was pondering what to write in the RoseBouquet this morning, it came to me that I could dhow off my bike to you, before I post these photos to Kijiji. We'll just see which method gets it out of the front porch the fastest.

So here are the photos I just took minutes ago.

Are you doing your income taxes too? Or do you pay someone else to do it for you?

It occurs to me that I have an interesting story about my income taxes. Ready? It has some surprises for you. :)

When I finished high school, back in the 1960s, I got a job in Saskatoon at SaskTel, our provincial telephone company. Next spring it was time to fill out my income tax form. Now, my forte is words, not numbers. My parents and I had recently visited Dad's Uncle Jake in Saskatoon. He was an elderly man, but talked as if he knew everything worth knowing in the world. I had mentioned my income tax and he said he could help me with that. So I took my papers to visit him by myself, to accept his offer.

However, Uncle Jake pshawed away my desire to report my giving to our church. He was sure that would not help me one way or another.

I went back to my little light-housekeeping suite disturbed inside. I believed in being as honest as the day is long, and somehow this felt like a "wrong." I looked over the forms, prayed, and decided that I could get another blank copy and do it over reporting everything with nothing held back. I studied every line to see if it applied to me, and did my math over 3 or 4 times to make sure my totals came out right.

It turned out that now I had a rebate coming to me - exactly the amount I had church receipts for my giving! From then on, I've insisted on doing my taxes myself. Even though it is a huge chore. I always did it slowly, and double-triple checked my math until I got the same answer 2 or 3 times.

There was one year that I recall hiring H & R Block to do my income tax. It was for the year 1983 when I had moved back to my parents' houses from my 12 years in London, ON. I'd been told that I could deduct my moving costs and I couldn't figure out how to do that. My memory is weak on numbers, but I believe it came out that I didn't get anything back that year, and yet paid something like $160 to have someone else do my income tax. I vowed again, that I would always do it myself!

Even during the 23 years I cared for my parents, when the only income I had was the gifts that the LORD prompted people to give or send me, and my income tax totals often looked like I was in the hole, I filled them out as a self-employed business woman with a summary sheet of my own showing the numbers I worked with. I was never audited.

Since I've lived in Saskatoon now the last 13 years, I've developed a habit of doing my bookeeping on Friday evenings, recording every financial transaction, purchase, income, whatever. Then, starting in January, I work over all my accounting to come up with the totals for every item under incomes and expenses. That often takes me all the Friday evenings from January through March. In April I start working with the income tax forms, but I do every addition, every math situation over several times to make sure I come up with the right numbers. Yes, even using a calculator! I know my reputation for math errors.

If I don't understand something I check the gov't website for the instructions until I UNDERSTAND them.

Well, I haven't quite finished yet for this year, but I was near the end last Friday evening. Then I had a call from a friend of mine, who told me that she had a friend in a small town south of Saskatoon, who has had no end of troubles all her life, and now she couldn't find an accountant willing to do her income taxes for her. She offered to pay my gas for me and would come along, if I would do them for her friend.

I hesitated. I've only ever done this for my parents and theirs was super simple. Their pension cheques were their only income. I hemmed and held back... I said I would need to know how complicated hers might be. My friend said she would ask her other friend to phone me.

She did, and as she told me many of her trials and tribulations my heart went out to her. She had even lived in a van for a numbers of years, as she had no home. She mentioned some part-time work that gave her commissions so I asked if she registered as a business.

No-no... she assured me. Well... I was still somewhat cautious for fear of what I might get into that was over my head, but I agreed to come see her paperwork on Saturday afternoon. She is also quite paranoid about certain people finding her. So... I'm trying to tell this without dropping any clues!

My city friend and I went on Saturday, and both of us brought along gifts for this friend. She was very friendly and ever so grateful, and had already sort of prepared a big supper for us.

I sat down at her dining table and looked over her little bundles of receipts and her summary amounts on a yellow legal sheet. I decided to trust her math and to go ahead to fill out the blank forms I'd brought along. It was slow going as I had to keep asking her if she had ever had or done this or that. Late in the afternoon, it appeared that her expenses would outweigh her income so she would not need to pay any taxes. I was up to the last page when it was after 6 pm and the supper in her kitchen smelled very good. So I asked if I could take all this home and go over it again. I would feel much better if I could do my math over often enough to make sure each number was correct. She willingly agreed.

My city friend and I enjoyed our hostess's excellent cooking (she used to be a chef in a restaraunt), and then drove back to the city with a lovely sunset at our left for the near an hour's drive.

I tackled her assorted receipt bundles on Sunday afternoon, fearing this might take several days, but I had them sorted out and totalled by about 8 pm. My totals were different from hers, so I was GLAD I had done that! Then yesterday morning I sacrificed my business agenda to work on the forms - starting all over again. It was past my lunch time before I stopped at the last page, but by then I knew I had found more income for her than she had realized, but also more deductions to claim. I may be able to finish up tonight, and I hope to show that her taxes are nil, or nearly nil. Also, I will be applying on her behalf for the Climate Action Rebate of $500 - which I don't think she was expecting.

I'm hoping now that by Friday afternoon I can drive back to see her again, show her the forms, get her to sign that she approves of them, and then she can mail them in.

I'll try to get mine done on Friday night. However, there are two more Friday nights left in April - though the 30th is the Deadline!

I do not mind helping someone in as much need as this unusual woman. But please, if you need help try to find someone else. Surely, there are good people who will help you too! I feel like a very much stretched rubber band!

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P.S. Due to relentless efforts to hack into the blog, I have deleted it
and move my weekly posts to this Department on my novel's site, which is
all about my Friends being my Roses or RoseBouquet, and has been from the
beginning, in 2001.
Ruth Marlene Friesen

Ruth Marlene Friesen
The Responsible One

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