Let me preemptively say that I am PRO paying taxes. In fact, I did my taxes just yesterday and on both me and my partner’s meager income we only have to pay $377.86 in taxes for 2008. And we’ve used that and more in social services. I mean, I took the bus quite a few times and we’re both CBC fans, I even went to emergency for something minor because our city’s walk-in clinic is only open after 4pm.
But, I get wary when the Canadian Revenue Agency is out to get the “little people”. Those of us who barter services rather than exchange cash (ie. volunteering an hour a week for a gym pass), or work for cash like mowing lawns, doing someone’s taxes by donation, or receiving an honorarium for giving a presentation at a local high school. To the CRA this is the “underground” economy and it’s DESTROYING our communities. In this fancy YouTube video above their rationale is that the non-taxed economy destroys communities because communities rely on services provided by taxes. Not a variety of self-sustaining and community embracing economies like bartering or the gift economy.
The way I see it, though, is that if the government can justify paying me a wage at the social service agency I work for that keeps me so low on the tax bracket that I have to do work on the side in exchange for services then that’s what I have to do.
I think my friend put it succinctly when she came up with her own idea for the video above:
I want to submit a video to them with [new baby’s name] asking for the boob and me saying “wait a minute, let me get a receipt, revenue canada deserves a share of my labour.”
The attack on the “underground economy” brings up a lot of questions: Does this mean that a person’s parenting/home work is also now taxable? And what about that $50 I get from my grandparents every Christmas? Does that count too? And what happens when I report I made an extra $300 building websites for a poor student to get their work off the ground? Do you think they’ll actually put those tax dollars into my community in a better way than that $300 went to buying local honey or paying my roller derby dues?