A long, long time ago, I once thought maybe I would do some freelance writing work while I tried to sort out my life. I even went so far as to sign up for a GST number so I could pay taxes and be all official and junk. Unfortunately, that’s about as far as I got – I soon got a regular job, and never freelanced my way in or out of anything.

Each year, the government would sent me forms and ask me to submit payments on the money I had earned during that period. Since I never earned squat, I never bothered to file anything – while it’s true I like to do things that don’t make any sense, filling out forms of nothing is not one of those things. Eventually, the forms stopped coming. I figured the government finally got the hint that they weren’t going to get any GST payments out of me, because I never did anything GST-chargeable (sex work? tax free, bitches).

For the last few years, I didn’t receive any GST forms and I soon forgot about it all together, what with my attention span of a goldfish. I figured I was off the hook, until this year – a form asking me to submit tax for earnings made in 2012. Well, shit. Once again, I ignored the forms – I made nothing, so you get nothing. Take that, The Man! You ain’t got nothing on me!

.. except they kind of did: my tax refund for 2012. We filed our taxes early like Super Keeners, and looked forward to the refund coming our way that would serve to both pay Visa and fund a road trip along the coast this summer. Is were dotted, Ts were crossed, and we waited.

And waited.

Then, more waiting: it was like the Ottoman Ultimatum all over again. Finally, I managed to hack* my way into the CRA website and read the bad news: The Man was holding my tax refund because my GST account was “non-compliant”. I owed GST payments on all my freelance earnings for the past 6 years. Well, my earnings equal 0, so I could just file those empty returns and be on my way, right? Oh, I was so naive.

I called the 1-800 number and learned that each return needed to be filed separately, and each return required a unique access code that had been mailed to me every year since 2008. All I had to do was find those papers I repeatedly threw out over the course of the last forever, and .. well, fuck. No worries, though: Government Darill would send me the forms and codes I needed, I could file my “non-compliant” returns, close my stupid GST account, and get my tax refund issued. Hooray!

While I THOUGHT Government Darill was helpful if a bit nerdtenious (a pretentious nerd), he was actually a fucking idiot. I had to jump through a lot of hoops to get what little help he could provide, and most of it came because I had been extremely lazy with the shredding: the 2012 form I ignored was still intact in the living room. I was able to provide my business number and from there, guess the answers they were looking for to sufficiently prove my business identity.

That was almost two weeks ago, and in the meantime I grew impatient waiting for the forms to show up. I made a call today to find out what the fuck, and I learned that a) Darill could have easily closed my account for me then and there, and b) there’s a fucking 1-800 number I could have called at any time to get my access codes right away. Annoyed but pleased (and sticky), I made the call, got my codes, and within 10 minutes had filed 6 years worth of empty GST returns. With any luck, my raging non-compliance will be cleared up within a week, and then I will get my tax refund. I closed my account too, so this shouldn’t be an issue going forward .. and if I ever think that maybe I want to law-abiding and legal with my business dealings in the future, please remind me what a fucking pain in the ass this all was and then I will merrily break rules to my heart’s content instead.

*: by “hack” I mean “remember my login information after several dozen attempts”

In other news, I’m Causing Trouble all over the place. I’m less panicky than I was on Monday morning, and there are several deeply interesting paths ahead of me. I will know more tomorrow, and will undoubtedly spill the beans when I can .. but I am intrigued (and sticky).


3 thoughts on “predicament

  1. Gee, my government guy was pretty cool, actually. He closed my GST account as of the end of 2011 (since I didn’t earn anything in contract work for 2012), and I had two null forms to fill out and two where I did earn money. You obviously got the slacker and I got the good guy.

  2. Oh, empty GST filings! I had to have a government-person come to my house and look at my bank account to prove I had never earned any income by being self-employed, and that I’ve never paid any employees. Then I just had to complete a null return (I only had it for a year) and they closed my account. Otherwise I was going to end up owing $10,000 in back payroll taxes somehow.

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