Yes, I know the income tax deadline is passed. Why a column on Timely Tax Tips? Because we are taxed right up
until the other certainty, and sometimes beyond. There may not be life after death, but there are taxes after death.
Income tax, at least, is a good, honest, up-front, overt grab at your money. Like any daring bandit of folklore, a government that openly takes your money deserves some grudging respect. Even if it takes too much, just to make you feel grateful for a refund; it is your money, but you feel like you pulled a fast one on them by getting a few dollars back.
There are a lot of extra other taxes, however. Some hidden, some open, and you pay them all year-round. Hence, Timely Tax Tips.
Municipal taxes are linked to assessed property value. In these days of soaring land prices, government (at the corner of Three Road and Granville; it's that close) feeds nicely on the fat of inflation, one reason no government wants to stop inflation.
TIP: Get together with your neighbours, go buy a bunch of junk cars, and put them up on blocks on your front lawns. Property values will drop over-night, perhaps below the assessed value, in which case you will not be put through the mill rate. Cars with sun roofs make good planters.
TIP: You will pay sales tax if you purchase the old car. Do not buy it. Trade off some labour for it. The old barter system, where services or goods, not money, trade hands, can really save you money on sales tax.
TIP: If you have nothing to trade, make your own wine or beer in the basement. You will be saving on taxes extracted by the provincial and federal treasuries, though there may be other legal problems, and you will be providing yourself with goods for barter.
TIP: Remember, do not go out and buy stuff to ferment. Barter at all times.
TIP: If you cannot barter for and cannot buy an old car to put on the front lawn, put your present one on blocks and buy a bicy-cle. There is no provincial sales tax on them. Or, trade your lawn mower for one. Remember, you don't need a lawnmower anymore. By getting rid of your car,
you will avoid all
manner of taxes on gasoline or diesel fuels, and the net effect of making the country more energy
self-sufficient is achieved.
TIP: If you must have a car, distill some of that beer or wine, and use the alcohol for fuel. Some nasty legal consequences may arise, however. Study this one carefully. You may be able to build a solar-powered still, and have no energy costs, and no smoke. They get you by the smoke.
TIP: Stop smoking. A major component of tobacco cost is taxes. It is good advice at any time. My doctor has given it to me on numerous occasions. If you cannot give up tobacco, start chewing. Chewing is cheaper, and will have a net negative effect on your property value. A tolerant spouse is a necessity, however.
By following these simple tips, you will avoids lot of taxes, and save money in the bargain. Do not spend it, else it will be taxed. Invest it either in Registered Retirement Savings Plans, thereby deferring taxes, or buy BCRIC shares. You may never make a capital gain on those shares, and thus will dodge the tax of the same name.
They are good barter instruments too. They have an alleged face value, much like a dollar, and it decreases daily, again like a dollar, and by trading them back and forth, without cashing them, you can easily avoid paying taxes. I think. Ask your accountant.
TIP: Take tax-free holidays. Like I will, if any of these activities I am counselling others to do are illegal.
These are the tips of the tax iceberg. It is easy to think of other ways of dodging taxes, when you begin thinking of how you incur them.
Of course, if everyone did that, governments, cut off from their lifeblood, would wither and die, which is not necessarily a good thing. But if a few enterprising souls do it, they can avail themselves of all the good things of society, without paying a nickel for it. Just like an oil company does.
TIP: If the income tax deadlines passed you by, sign and date an otherwise blank return, and file it. They will eventually catch up with you, but they cannot charge you with failing to file a return. I heard that one from a judge.
Ed's note: Graeme Elliott is a former Richmond Review sports editor. He will be providing Review readers with a weekly comment on the passing scene.
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Last updated: Sunday, 15-Feb-2009 02:21:33 EST