jumping through those hoops

  • How Stuff Works: The Cellphone
  • When rats play The Prison’s Dillemma.

    I’m filing taxes for the very first time this year, (ten years of them, all at once), calling government phone numbers, getting shuffled between departments. The basic instructions: use your T4 slips to fill out your tax forms. Me, I don’t really have any. My employers over the years have been mostly been either shady, strange, or unreliable. I have a red box high up on a shelf in which I keep all my employment forms, and let me tell you, there are mighty few of them. After years and years, it’s barely half full. Thankfully the government has a contingency plan for such situations, a phone number to call that lets you request your slips directly from them. Easy, right? Not for a first timer.

    Because I’ve never filed before, I don’t exist in their computers. Because I don’t exist in their computers, I was told I have to mail a physical letter to the tax office requesting my forms. Quaint. After writing my letter on some nice stationary and putting it in a matching envelope, all proper and sealed, I tried to call the tax office to double-check the address only to discover that the phone number was disconnected. Less quaint. Calling the help-line again, I stumbled upon the fact that rather than mailing my request, I can make an appointment to request them in person. “Much quicker,” they said, and then tried to connect me to the appointments line. All the numbers lead to Ontario offices, however, closed at five central time, and so she collected my information and told me they would call me back tomorrow. The upshot is, after three hours juggling information, writing letters, and waiting on hold to various pleasant sounding people who weren’t quite sure what to do with me, the tax office is going to call me tomorrow afternoon so I can make an appointment in two weeks time to request some forms that will take another two weeks to arrive.

    Bureaucracy at its finest. I’m not even at the complicated part yet.

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