And a failure to comply…
Dining table before compliance
On a January afternoon like this one you hesitate to go outdoors, even though the sun is shining and the temperature is well above freezing. There’s a north-northwest wind gusting to 70 km/45 mi per hour. You could blow right over, into one of the large and ice-bottomed puddles that spread on my village’s roads during a melt. Instead, it’s a good day for admitting that there’s no such thing as being a full time, all the time, no-excuses artist. Not unless you count being bookkeeper, studio assistant, preparator, curator, publicist, researcher and webmaster as part of that.
Of course, you have to. Like many artists, I’d rather spend all my time at the easel, struggling with whatever painting is currently giving me grief, but like most artists, I know that if I don’t do these other things, no one will.
And there are long stretches sometimes when no one does. Especially no one does the bookkeeping. Numbers and I have an uneasy relationship. Sorting receipts and entering dollar amounts is one of the least fun things I can think of.
But the bookkeeping has gotten out of hand. I’m almost nine months in arrears in my Canadian Goods and Services Tax filing. Revenue Canada Agency is sending me letters in brown envelopes. I’m called “non-compliant” and my tax refunds will be withheld. Vaguely, worse threats hover.
So today, in the wind, I will comply. Sort receipts into three-month quarters, then into categories within the quarters. Enter numbers into Excel spreadsheets. I give thanks for Excel. Add up kilometers travelled for business and expenses for business use of home. Figure out the car’s percentage of business use and the studio’s percentage of costs to run my house. Use bank deposit book to enter income by source. How much GST did I pay? That’s input costs. How much did I charge? That’s GST collected or collectible. Subtract one from the other. Hold my breath.
Let my breath go. GST is collectible from only Canadian sources. In 2014 much of my income was American. In all quarters, I collected less GST than what I paid. Revenue Canada owes me, not the other way around. I press the File button on the GST web page. Now there are no more brown envelopes to worry about. No more vague threats.
You’d think I’d learn. Not let things get like this. I always promise to do better next time. But my easel is still more fun than the file folders. My lack of love for numbers is a failing, I know. We all have a few.
What are you promising to do better?
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