Well, the Nov 30th deadline has come and gone. As I type it is Dec 08 and the world hasn’t imploded…yet. Luckily the CRA screwed up and send a Notice Of Assessment to the wrong address for one of us. This means that in order to get access to the Notice Of Assessment we have to get a login for the CRA website, and they will only send that by snail mail.
The Notice Of Assessment is required in order to apply for the loan, which means the CRA didn’t get their yay/nay from the bank regarding the loan because we were waiting on the CRA to send us info. That info was received, submitted and we’re back playing the waiting game one more time.
The extra few weeks this bought if very helpful. It’s given time to get some work done and some invoices put out. We’re not going to have all the money required to hand as quick as the CRA likes, but we might have enough to stall them for another month while we await the laborious process of American cheques clearing the Canadian banking system.
Some people have asked me why I would be so honest about all of this, documenting it for all to see. The answer to that is simple: running a business is hard. It is easy to screw up, and small businesses have the same sort of bureaucratic overhead as larger ones, but less experience and expertise at dealing with it.
It is my sincere hope that my own mistakes can help others avoid similar issues in the future.
Perhaps the most critical lesson to come out of this is that none of us should ever make assumptions about the rationality or humanity of government bureaucrats. If one thing has come to light about this whole misadventure is that everyone with whom I’ve discussed this issue simply cannot believe that the CRA is so intransigent and uncompromising.
It has become perfectly clear that most people expected that the CRA would be more understanding, merciful and accommodating, working with us to find a solution that works for everyone.
This is not the case. The CRA does not compromise. They do not accommodate.
In being in business for myself I have found that large businesses regularly screw over the small. Most companies take forever to pay their bills on time. A customer that pays regularly and on time is worth more than a customer who pays at higher margins.
Above all, I’ve learned the one group of people you can’t negotiate with are the taxmen.
So please, if you go into business for yourself, learn from my mistakes. Never screw up anything related to taxes and ALWAYS get a second opinion on your accounting. If your accountant screws you over on your taxes, you’re in deep, deep shit.
In the meantime, I wait. And write. We’ll see how it all turns out, and whether or not the anxiety makes me start raving mad before a conclusion is reached.
You’ve probably seen Merlin’s GoFundMe to help me and mine out. Merlin is a great friend and he seems intent on solving my little screwup all on his own. Bless his heart, he’s a great guy, but the issue is 100% financial, and thankfully not someone in medical trouble.
The long story short for those interested: we (meaning me, since I’m in charge) fucked up a couple years’ worth of tax payments to government. You know, the ones where the company is supposed to collect X% of the money paid to staff and remit to government? We underpaid, and now we owe gov’t $30k.
This was all complicated by some accounting tomfoolery, bad accountants, our not having the foggiest clue what we were doing or even what questions to ask and similar first time small business mistakes. We go ourselves mostly righted earlier this year when we hired a full time book keeper, but it has taken her 8 months to untangle our books.
Unfortunately, the government are demanding that we cough up the full $30K by the end of November Nov. We don’t have it.
The government’s response to this is “so get a business loan”. We can’t, the banks won’t give us one. Their response to that is “so get a personal loan” for each of the shareholders. For the same reason, the bank won’t give us one.
So we’re trying to make $30k appear before the end of the month. I’m doing this by trying to get a bunch of writing work and basically not sleeping. We’re unlikely to make this extra $30k appear out of nowhere in what amounts to a week.
Complicating matters further, my mortgage is up for renewal, and there is a lot of faffery that has to go on there because the bank screwed up in the past and didn’t take Geoff (my former roommate) off my mortgage when we asked them too. (He’s no longer on the land title, but apparently he’s on the mortgage.)
So we get to play the fun game of “are you credit-worthy to live in your own home” right at the same time we have to make this money appear. Yay.
To be clear: it’s not like we CAN’T find an extra $30K. The issue is that we can’t do it as fast as the government wants. We could cheerfully do it by, for example, the end of April. $30k isn’t HUGE to a company, even one as small as ours, and things have just started to look up for us, corporately.
Unfortunately the gov’t is not interested in working out a payment program. So it’s “freak out and try to find any solution possible” time. Merlin’s intervention via GoFundMe is unexpected, but a very kind gesture.
I don’t know what, if anything will come of it. But I do intend to repay any kindness by the community back with interest. Currently my thoughts run to “working double-time to ensure that I can put aside more money than was gifted us to make it through the tough spot we’re in” and then putting that money towards a community vBeers fund for VMworld and/or some of the larger VMUGs.
I hope the above explains the situation to everyone. Thanks for taking the time to read our tale of woe.