Having taken special care to properly file my company taxes, with all the due diligence that comes with a first-year GST/PST paying company, I was surprised to receive a notice of assessment in the mail.
It said, quite simply, that I owed them one hundred and twelve dollars. I put the letter aside in the pile for my accountant, and went on with my day.
The next day, another letter arrived from the government. This time, it was a cheque. The amount? One hundred and twelve dollars.
Within twenty-four hours I had been asked to pay, and been paid, the exact same amount. I told my accountant I planned to rip up the cheque – “If I don’t cash it, then we’ll be even,” but he suggested I call instead.
“They’re tricky,” he said, “the most logical route and the proper channels are not always the same thing.”
So I called them. I was advised that yes, in error they had issued me a cheque for one hundred and twelve dollars. And yes, that is why I now owed them that same amount.
“But, I haven’t cashed the cheque yet,” I pleaded.
“Well you have to,” said the poor customer service monkey.
“But, if I don’t cash it I don’t owe you any money.”
“It doesn’t work like that.”
“What if I don’t want to cash it?”
“Then you need to fill out form 69-Q and submit it.”
“Where do I get this form?”
“You need to request it.”
“This is ridiculous.”
“This is policy.”
My accountant was livid. “That’s simply ridiculous!” He barked as he charged into his office like a gladiator. He emerged an hour later, sweat on his brow, his tie pulled down to his midsection and his collar unbuttoned, a defeated look in his eyes. “We could spend the next several months filling out paperwork to make a point,” he said.
“Yes,” I agreed, “but what do we do if we want to get on with our lives?”
The broken man sighed, “Just cash the f***ing cheque and write them one for the same amount.”
And so I did.