Sun 13 Apr, 2003 06:01 am
This is gonna sound weird, perhaps, to many, and I am going to sound like the worst kind of prig - BUT - no, I do not do anything in the least "creative" with my tax.
I am actually very happy to pay my taxes - in fact, I believe they should be higher, so that my country's services/infrastructure were better funded - and so that we could give more in foreign aid. At least I can correct the latter myself, privately, and I do - as well as giving money to Australian organizations that provide various services to people (and animals and such.)
If I am miffed about tax at all, it is knowing that really rich people and companies pay less tax than I do, because of being able to afford various loop-holes and dodges - (one of Australia's wealthiest companies - with earnings in the mega-millions - is able to pay tax on only 1 million of its earnings! - and Australian companies do not have the history of private philanthropy that I understand American companies tend to have). However, I probably waste about 30 seconds a year worrying about this, and for the rest of the time I pay my tax perfectly contentedly - the direct AND indirect tax.
It is made easier here, because one can opt to pay one's tax every fortnight - it is taken out of my pay before I ever see it - and this makes the whole process fairly painless, except the keeping of bits and pieces that will be needed if I am ever audited.
Be prepared for an audit, if you cheat. They're really smarter than you think!
Good way to lose weight and lots of sweat!
Every year about this time the newspapers and the TV stations do a feature from the annuals basket, those "news stories" that appear every year. They always take the same form, I don't know why they don't just run the one from last year. Other good ones to watch for about this time in midwest America is the "Tornado Warnings and Watchs: what do they mean?" and "Sunscreen: how much is enough?"
Anyway, I've been watching for the "Watch out you tax cheats" one and this led me to think : Does this news item affect anyone and how?
For myself, I have already had the pleasure of an audit. (When I was much younger, raising two kids and going to school, I had an income of about $8500.00 - yes, the comma's in the right place - and childcare expenses of nearly two thirds that. Flags everywhere, but I showed them the names of the twelve babysitters and two daycare centers and showed them my schedule. College classes from 9 till 4 M-F and work at the TV station seven days a week. (M-F 6Am to 8:30a) and Sat/ Sun from 6am till 11pm. ) At one point in order to keep my job at the station I was spending $1.50 an hour for childcare and making $2.25. Not a big profit year for me. The whole audit lasted about three hours as the nice lady tried to figure out how I was still standing up.
Since the experience I have kept every receipt, every piece of paper, every note and I've always wondered why anyone would go to the trouble of cheating. What I shoot for every year is to come out at zero. Nothing owed and no big no interest loan to Uncle Sam.
And when the new reporter gets on the air and starts to intone solemnly that the IRS is looking to find tax cheats, I change the channel.
That's what astounded me and my friends, that they would try to find more money from someone who made $8500.00 . Later, it occurred to me that they were looking for the rest of the income. I should have mentioned that I was at that time in full hippie regalia: long hair, embroidered shirts and love beads, painted jeans etc. Not for the audit, of course, I wore a suit and tied my hair back. They kept asking about how I spent my time away from work and school. "You mean besides studying and sleeping and making patty-cake with the kids?" I said. "That's about it." I think they wanted me to say " Oh, you mean, like how I go out in the woods to my secret pot farm for harvesting or do you want to know about the $62,000 cash I have in my five year old VW Beetle."
I waited for about six months, expecting the IRS to break in and search my apartment while I was out, but they never did. They would have been very disappointed.
We took our audit all the way to tax court. There was a little old lady there who was scared to death. I was afraid that she would have a coronary.
As an accountant, personal ethics is very important to me. I do not judge others in how they practice ethics; one of my best friend cheated on his tax returns. We've been audited many times in the past when I worked and did consulting work, but we always kept supporting documents for all of our deductions. We haven't been audited in over 25 years. c.i.
Never! Those taxmen are scary!!!