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[Expletive Deleted]

Posted 2012.09.12 10.10 in Work by Stephanie

[loud swearing, angry cursing, gnashing of teeth, stamping of feet.]

[rattling of swords, clutching of straws.]

[fists shaking, stress building]

[blood pressure rising]

[darkness]

First Day of School

Posted 2010.09.07 9.39 in Pointless Blather, Work by Stephanie

It’s always funny to see the subtle changes on the first day of school.

Traffic is moderately busier. The drive-through coffee shop is about 300% busier. And of course, there’s kids out and about, running across roads and crossing intersections on a red signal and all that fun stuff.

The best part of course is the little schadenfreude of knowing their summer break is over and they’re all going to be stuck behind desks for the next 9 or 10 months.

Ha ha ha.

Makes it a little easier for the rest of us who don’t get the 2-month break.

HST Looming in Ontario & B.C.

Posted 2010.05.31 13.19 in Pointless Blather, Work by Stephanie

With the HST (known as VAT in other parts of the world) only a month away now for Ontario and B.C., it’s still mighty hard to find crucial information. It’s out there, but they seem to be going to great lengths to hide it. Reminds me of the planning notice that Arthur Dent found, that let him know about his house’s impending demolishment. On display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet, in a disused lavatory in the cellar, where the lights didn’t work and the stairs were broken, and a sign outside the door saying “Beware of the Leopard.”

So the information is out there, and if you happen to run a business or just need to know about the tax laws, then it’s up to you to check the government’s websites on a regular basis and dig and scrounge for information – bearing in mind that it might be wrong, outdated, or superceded next week. Eg. the Ontario government set up a toll-free number you could call to get information on the new rules. I called the number and asked some very specific questions. The answers I was given sounded authoritative and informative. Some of them were wrong, or contradicted information provided by other venues.

By and large, I don’t expect that prices of most goods or services will go up much, and I don’t expect them to go down at all. There are certain areas though where the general public can expect to receive a good solid boot to the head. For instance, the price of postage had a fairly stiff increase in January – from 54 cents to 57 cents for a normal first-class letter within Canada. This will see another jump due to the tax increase, from 5% to 8%. So a 57 cent stamp (which currently costs 60 cents) now, is going to cost 64 cents in July. Factoring the increase in postage and the increase in taxes, this means an overall price hike of  7 cents, within 6 months. Not a lot of money for a single stamp, but what if you use a hundred a month? That’s a 7 dollar increase.

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Tax Time

Posted 2010.04.29 1.51 in Pointless Blather, Work by Stephanie

That time once again. It seems like it comes around every year like this. Income tax. Bleargh.

I try not to procrastinate, I try to be good. Well when I say try, what I mean is that I think about it. I start thinking about doing my taxes in February. It’s a chore though and seems tiring, so thinking about it makes me sleepy.

Then March comes around, and I think about it some more. By March, all the various forms and receipts have usually arrived in the mail. I know I ought to sit down and do it. It’s not too bad if I space it out over two weekends – a couple hours the first weekend to sort & add up my receipts, then a couple hours the next weekend to fill in all the forms and do the maths and figuring.

Then April comes in and I realize I really have to get serious and set aside some time for it. Maybe just one weekend instead of two. If I spread it out over Saturday and Sunday, then it’s not so bad, two smaller chores instead of one big one. Still, it’s no fun, and all the maths and numbers make my head hurt. Then the headache makes me sleepy.

And ultimately, I find myself with about 30 hours to the deadline, sitting up at 2:00am with a calculator, notepad, and a zillion slips of paper, trying to get through it without falling asleep.

Next time, I’ll be good. I won’t procrastinate.

Come to think of it, I’ve got like 30 hours or so left, I might just go to bed and finish this stuff later.

Back to the Grind

Posted 2010.01.04 11.47 in Work by Stephanie

Having the statutory holidays falling on a Friday, then a Monday, then a Friday, led to some wonderfully long weekends. I’m pretty sure we’re in for the almost same thing again next year, with a Friday, Monday, Monday arrangement.

While I know that retail was probably crazy-busy last week, it was rather quiet and peaceful at my office last week – we all came in but not much happened, so it was like half-days. Yeah – four day weekend, three quiet days, then a three day weekend.

I could get used to that. Sigh.

Then pow, today it’s back to normal. Full days, full weeks, things going on, busy busy. Month-end, year-end, stuff to do, the fun never ends.

Random Updates

Posted 2009.12.16 14.31 in Aquaria, Pointless Blather, Work by Stephanie

So much going on, but aside from the occasional rant, I’m not focused enough to make complete topics of anything in particular. So, point form.

  • Snail babies – lots of them. Clutches number one, two, and four all had a whole lotta babies in them. Clutch number three was mostly a dud. However, I’m not finding myself overrun with baby snails so I assume that the die-off rate has been high after all. I’ve only seen 4 or 5 snails that are larger than a BB and 3 of them are definately from the second clutch. I don’t know if there’s actually a thousand million baby snails hiding under the gravel where I can’t see them, but I figure if they were, they’d have to be getting bigger and I’d start seeing them…
  • Winter crazies – as the end of the year approaches, the days get shorter, the dark gets darker, I’m filled with an overarching sense of running out of time. Projects are coming due, crisiis are looming, and stress is building. Monday I was having a panic-attack or anxiety-attack or something, and stopped functioning completely for a few hours. Then there was the insomnia and general lack of restful sleep. By Tuesday the panic/anxiety had subsided a bit, but it’s starting to build up again now.
  • Work hazies – part and parcel with the above. Not sure which is the cause and which is the effect. Work deadlines lead to stress, stress leads to crazies, crazies lead to malfunctions, malfunctions lead to missed deadlines, and it’s all this big spiral of confusion and discombobulation.
  • Tax mazes – one of the companies I work for is getting a tax audit. I just made the connection, the audit is starting on the 21st – the winter solstace. Also known as The Darkest Day Of The Year. Seems appropriate. And I promise never to say the word ‘nitwits‘ while filling out tax forms, ever again.
  • X-mas lazies – not the right word, but I’m running out of things that rhyme. I don’t wanna x-mas. Bah humbug! Hah bumhug! I don’t mind buying gifts for folks, but I don’t have time to shop and don’t know / can’t remember what people want. And I don’t want anything tangible (though I’d really like More Time.) I just want to cancel the holiday this year. The only part of the tradition I care to maintain is the Ice-Cold-Beer-on-a-Hot-Xmas-Morning. And maybe some hors-d’oveurs from M&M.

That’s about it for now. No pics or illustrations, no time.

HST Lies & Misinformation

Posted 2009.12.16 12.43 in Pointless Blather, Work by Stephanie

So far, it looks like Ontario is still going ahead with this HST nonsense. Mostly, I don’t really care one way or another – it’s a zero-sum change for me. Being an entrepreneur and working in small business, whether the GST is 5% or 13% is largely irrelevant due to the way the tax is managed with the ITCs balancing the taxes collected.

One thing that I really dislike though, is when governments lie and mislead in order to push their agenda through.

Will the move from GST (5%) + PST (8%) to HST (13%) cost the average consumer more money? No. The 13% rate won’t apply to stuff that’s currently PST exempt.

It’ll be a huge pain in the ass for programmers and accountants etc. to get this set up for retailers’ POS systems, but generally speaking the actual tax rate isn’t going to change.

They don’t need to add lies or misinformation to sugar-coat it. What am I talking about? Specifically, this paragraph I keep coming across in the Ontario Ministry of Revenue‘s website:

Right now, provincial sales tax is paid by most businesses at each step in the creation of a consumer product. In other words, though you may not realize it, the PST is charged multiple times during the production of a product before that product reaches the store. So it can be a tax on a tax on a tax, all hidden in the cost of a product until it gets to the consumer. Under the HST, most taxes paid on business inputs will be refunded to the business — savings that can be reinvested and passed on to consumers.

I’ve been working with small businesses for over two decades. I can tell you that the PST is not charged multiple times during the production of a product. This is simply a flat-out lie.

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