Sigh. So after writing about how I was going to address my finances, I finally called Revenue Canada to address my 2007 tax return. I had been going back and forth with them because they had the wrong date of departure. They originally assessed me at $5400 CDN in taxes owed but with the date change that dropped to $3600 (roughly). I had a lengthy discussion with a senior tax rep from Revenue Canada and basically got told that because I left the country and listed a departure date (thus, an indication of not returning and considered a non-resident), I owe taxes. My moving expenses credits, which would have wiped out taxes owed, do not qualify because I’m a “non-resident”. In fact, I got informed that even if I returned at the end of my visa, I wouldn’t be able to claim those either because I was a non-resident (being “Canadian doesn’t matter; owing taxes does” was that I got told).
So I could refile declaring that I’m still a resident but I didn’t have the energy in me to do it. So I figured I’d make arrangements to pay what I owe (over a period of time since my credit card debt is so heavy). When I called that office I got told that the minimum I would have to pay is $500 each month. My jaw just about hit the floor. I’ve figured out that I will owe the State of NY a heft amount as well (about $2400) while, theoretically, getting money back from the US Fed (although given my luck of late, I’m not betting on it). Basically, between the two countries I’ll get to add on another $7-10,000 (CDN/US) on to my debt.
Never mind that I paid for my own move down here and still pay for stuff in storage in Canada. Never mind that I’m still paying to Canadian credit card companies to a tune of.. well, let’s just say it’s a lot. I acknowledge that the credit card stuff is of my own doing but the tax stuff. Ya. Not quite. I’ve paid into the system for over 20 years. I’ve used it ONCE. I’ve paid off student loans completely. I have no problem paying my taxes but I hate having to double pay and to be treated disrespectfully, which is what it felt like when I was talking with the two different agents at Revenue Canada (an air of contempt for the average citizen like “you have no idea what you’re doing so just shut up and listen”).
I wrote to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance but I expect no reply and even less done. It has created a veil of disillusionment for me in regards to my home nation. I used to be so patriotic and now.. it’s a system that does what it can to squeeze out the average person on all fronts: from governments, banks and otherwise. If I could get a windfall right now, I’d pay all I owe all around, quit my job and life off the land, living entirely in cash. I’ve had it with these systems. It’s not worth it. No one cares about others. No one is interested in being respectful or compassionate for others when we’re truly in trying times. Oh, we’re expected to prop up the government when it suffers but when the average citizen suffers, well, you’re on your own.
Well, live and learn. It’ll add a year or two to my debt-free dreams but I think I’m going to find ways out of the system and not participate any more into the “system” where possible. I’ve removed all credit cards from all my usual purchase places, added in regular payments into Revenue Canada and will be visiting H&R Block on Saturday to see if I can get some help for the State taxes (perhaps there is some way to reduce them).
I recently finished reading the advice book from “America’s Cheapest Family“. While I don’t know if I’d do everything they suggest I do know one thing: I need to live well below my means. I did it before and had halved my credit card debt to a point where I was a year or two away from credit card freedom. It’s time to return to that and become frugal not just once in a while but regularly. It’d probably help for my health as well since it’ll force me to find resources outside of home to save money on. I would like to get rid of the cable once and for all. We could easily find what we like on Hulu or NetFlix for far cheaper while still seeing recent releases.
Ah well. I’m not giving up and will continue. Although I’ve pretty much lost all outside funds I had previously and have a single source of income, I’m not letting that hold me back from moving forward an inch at a time towards my final dream of a house, no debt (other than mortage) and the life I want. I don’t want to be rich but I want to be able to survive. Right now I feel like I can’t. As Charles Schulz once said: “Just remember, once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed.” I will keep climbing that hill so I can race down the other side.