Monday, 30 March 2009

The case of the missing paperwork

One of my great failings is that when it comes to Admin I'm atrocious. You know the sort of thing; I lose documents, my filing system is based on anarchy, I'm utterly crap at filling in forms (Because the bloody form never has a field that I can honestly fill in properly). Today is filing my first ever Canadian Tax form.

The UK Inland Revenue as was, now the monolithic HMRC used to have the saying that 'tax needn't be taxing'. Well it is. I often wonder if those who design tax forms are descended from an arcane sect of Alchemists and Druids who have handed down the occult wisdom that if people can understand their forms, then they're not doing their job properly. On the other hand, perhaps I'm being unkind. it's probably the politicians screwing things up as usual; changing the regulations in the vain hope that they might get it right this time (Hah!). Perhaps there's a secret society of lobbying Tax Accountants, who nag the politicians to keep the tax regulations complicated so that only those with specialist knowledge can work out what in the name of the devils steaming turds you have to claim, and what not to claim.

Of course I keep a receipt for everything; but those receipts sit in a large buff envelope and have to be sorted out into chronological order and cross referenced every 12 months. I'd keep a weekly spreadsheet, but I'm so damn preoccupied with the day to day business of working and chasing the money that I still lose track after a month or so. Mrs S tries her best to keep me up to snuff, but in truth I think that I'd rather have someone do all the dull admin while I get on with the really interesting stuff that I do for a living.

I think it may be genetic. My Dad was just the same. Every March there were three or four whole days when the entire kitchen floor (And we had a large kitchen) was carpeted by forms, cheque stubs, receipts and other financial paraphenalia (This was in the analogue days before computers). Dad was constantly cursing and bitching. Mum was always upset because some piece of paper wasn't accounted for. The whole household was in chaos. Despite being pretty IT-savvy I'm just as bad, if not worse.

One of these days, or so I keep telling myself, I may strike it rich, and be able to afford the services of some clever dry as dust academic type who can be bothered with all the nitpicking detail. Until then, I'll be stuck with burrowing through disorganised piles of paper to find the bloody receipt that proves I bought the gasoline to justify my mileage claim. Oh gawd.

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