As we move into another February, it’s getting to that time for many of us to look at our income tax status for the previous year.
We can pat ourselves on the back for the good actions we took to help lower taxes (such as make regular tax-deductible contributions to a retirement savings plan or contributions to charities eligible for tax credits). We may also have some time left for catch-up opportunities, such as the 60 days grace period for contributions to an RRSP (in Canada).
Unofficial strategies, particularly ‘creative bookkeeping’, are engaged at one’s discretion and risk.
While these actions can reduce income tax owing, along with investing in tax-exempt or tax-reduced investments, claiming legitimate business or employment deductions, medical expense credits, and a few others, there is much room for improvement.
Particularly, when one considers the roller-coaster ride in juggling the demands of modern life, it seems only fair that many other activities taxpayers engage in should qualify for some degree of helping reduce our overall tax burden.
Here are suggestions for tax relief, at least from a consumer point of view:
- Credits for gas consumed in returning defective or recalled merchandise to sales outlets
- ‘Tipping’ credits, to compensate for financially rewarding services based on empathy for low-paid workers rather than the quality of the experience
- Expanded definition of ‘moving expenses’ to include costs of getting away from energy/income sucking relatives
- Credits to compensate for hours of pain and mental discomfort spent by seniors in waiting areas of government run medical facilities
- Deductions for clothing based on their wear & tear due to being subjected to the physically challenging winter months; this includes cleaning bills for clothing constantly dirtied getting in and out of vehicles, both private and public transit
- Education credits for studying third party journals and reports which attempt to explain government policies
- Deductions for home expenses incurred for environmental improvements relating to being able to cope with irresponsible or intrusive neighbours (latter’s property must be adjacent)
- Flat amount annual credit for office workers to compensate for monies spent for fellow workers’ coffee, snacks, etc., not reimbursed by an office fund
- Deduction for monies spent on clothing or accessories when interviewing for a new job which doesn’t pan out
- Credits for toys, etc. purchased to keep children from annoying other people in public
After all, compared to the manner in which governments indiscriminately throw around hard-earned dollars extracted from taxpayers, more flexibility in the latter’s ability to make more efficient use of their own monies seems only fair.