Do you like the title of this post? I want that number to be burned in your memory. It’s very important.
Yesterday a customer came into my cafe and, for some odd reason, had in his possession an invoice of monies owed to the CRA. The CRA, for those of you who don’t know what it is, is the Canadian version of the IRS, otherwise known as the Canadian Revenue Agency and formerly known as Revenue Canada (I think). It’s the people who take from the people to give to the government… I fear I may go missing after writing that…
This customer – let’s call him ‘Salim’ to protect his privacy – was somewhat frazzled by this invoice. ‘Salim’ had filed his taxes like every good Canadian boy and girl should do. He was confident that he had done it correctly, yet, in his hands was an invoice for $5.81 that he must submit very quickly if he “wanted to avoid interest charges”.
Five dollars and eighty one cents.
The first thing that came to my mind was ‘Where did they get this number and why is the CRA still using pennies when they were removed from circulation months ago?”
What was on Salim’s mind was much more important. His point was this:
“Imagine if the CRA sent an invoice for $5.81 to every Canadian?”
How many people live in this deserted Northern land again? I think it was around 30,000,000 last time I checked… So, $30million x $5.81 is $174,300,000! That’s enough for a Senator’s travel expenses for an entire year!
I went home that evening and opened my mail and lo and behold one of my businesses was blessed with the very same invoice from the CRA. The only difference is that our invoice was for $101.34 – a nice random number adjusted for commercial rates – still using the antiquated penny system.
Now on top of the $174 million they just collected from the working class, they just got themselves $101.34 from every corporation!
Salim’s point was very good. The amount on the invoice in both cases was low enough that it doesn’t make financial sense to research the data. It makes much more sense to pay it quickly and get it out of your life and off your to-do list. A company would have to spend hours poring over the filing and that would cost way more than $101.34. And what happy-go-lucky Canadian would waste even an hour trying to figure out where this $5.81 invoice came from? Meh!
So great work, CRA. This looks way better than raising our tax rates again. I’ll have my invoice paid by June 25th to avoid the interest charges.