The (TA)X Files

February 8, 2008 at 2:28 am (Uncategorized)

I finally started facing up to last year’s tax return yesterday. Talk about losing the will to live. Oh my god, is there anything that can crush the spirit like a day hunched over a mountain of receipts that are the only proof I have left that there were once happier times? I look at those restaurant receipts and I wonder “Is there any chance I can claim that?” And then there are the 4 am cab ride receipts. “How about that?” I ask myself. “Think I can get away with that one?” Probably not.

Let me tell you about my filing system. I think you’ll like it. In fact, I think it’s really going to take off. Brace yourself.

Periodically, I empty my wallet and pour my receipts into a box. When it’s full, I start a new box.

That’s it. What do you think? Nifty, huh? So yesterday I went through 3 boxes, because the real art of my system is that there isn’t one. That’s right. So in order to figure out how much tax I’m going to owe and to try and whittle it down to nothing (because, well, come on, I didn’t earn that much), I now have to go through each and every one of those (mostly useless) motherfucking receipts and find the ones relevant and redeemable for the July 1 2006 – June 30 2007 financial year.

I found receipts yesterday from 2001. I found evidence of shopping sprees, skincare regimes and an enduring obsession with shoes. I discovered Llew and I have made a genuinely alarming number of trips to the Manly Liquor Store. I worked out that we have spent a fair chunk of our mortgage debt eating at our favourite local cafe. I stick with almost religious fervor to the six weekly haircut rule, too. No wonder they smile at me when I walk in the door. I found grocery bills, and I must say it is quite extraordinary how much food two people can eat. I also found many clues that suggest an almost fetishistic interest in the written word. Mercifully, they might even be tax deductible.

If my eyes hadn’t glazed over and my back hadn’t started aching from staring down at the paper piles, I might have almost enjoyed the insight into my spending habits. As it was, though, I didn’t. I did not enjoy it at all. I just wanted it to end. And it drove me to drink (see above), so now I am nursing the mother of all hangovers on top of the nagging sense that I have forgotten something. Oh yes. Goddamn it. That would be box number 4.

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