Monday, April 7, 2014

Privacy, Rights, and Any Ol'Thing

It's tax season!  Hurrah!  Not just in the US but in Canada also although with 15 days difference.

And I say this loaded with sarcasm.  Because the tax systems couldn't be more than different.  In the US, the system is set up to tax US citizens (and residents).  In Canada, you are taxed based on residency.  In other words if you are a Canadian citizen living in the US for the past 12 years, you don't have to file anything with the CRA (Canadian Revenue Agency).  They could care less.  Even if you hold property or earned something in Canada.  In the US, you are obligated as a citizen to file a tax return form, declaring all income from anywhere, even if you no longer live in the US.

This naturally puts one in a sort of weird quandary and causes people to scream "Double Taxation!"  This is not exactly true.  Canada, as far as I can surmise, will tax you regardless of whether you already paid taxes or not.  You're expected to deduce the amount you paid in taxes when filing, but the remainder will be taxed, again. 

Hold, on to you shorts though.  The US tax system is well-aware of this oddity.  You must "pay" taxes or rather declare the income regardless of origination, but you get deductions and whatnot for paying foreign taxes.  So you aren't taxed twice.

The thing that irritates duel-citizens (because apparently nobody explained what being a US citizen entails) is that you must file taxes with two countries for the rest of your life as a US citizen/foreign resident.  You can avoid this by simply renouncing your citizenship, which is something I think a person should do as an adult anyways because being a duel-citizen comes with a lot of headaches and nutty privileges.  For example, I knew a Colombian citizen and life-long resident who could not get a visa into the US because the US restricts such visas.  But because her father was a Spanish citizen, she was also one and was able to secure a US visa on her Spanish passport even though, again, she never resided in Spain ever.  The US has always made people renounce their citizenship upon becoming US citizens although it's never enforced.  And as a matter of course, if you are a dual citizen you are required to use your US passport when entering the US.   In other words you can't use you Canadian one.  Thems the rules of being a US citizen.

Turning it back to taxes...so we've been warned about two things about Canadian taxes.  1) Expect agents to be sent to our door who want to look over our US tax return.  Why?  They want to squeeze ever last penny out.  No joke. 

One of the things Canadians relish is that they have pseudo-privacy.  I've heard that it's in the Charter, but I haven't actually read that.  This is not espoused to Canadian residents, particularly temporary ones.  In fact the Charter specifies that we are not free to move about the country.  The only rights we have are those guaranteed by the Geneva convention, namely that if we're arrested we have the right to speak to our representative (ie someone from the Embassy or Consulate) and have a lawyer.  That's it.  We can be deported without due process for any reason.  This is true of the US as well.  So if you recall my post about Canadian animosity, and his discussion about rights, the irony of his post was palpable.  I haven't any rights in Canada anymore than he would in the US.  I can't vote here.  I have no right to a job either (Canadians get first dibs).  I am second class nothing.  So no, Canada is not the land of milk and honey or rainbows or whatever many libs *cough* Michael Moore *cough* espouse.  It's a foreign entity and I have only a few limited basic rights. 

*sniffle* I miss my country.  I haven't left since moving to Canada and it will take will power to cross back into Canada after our trip to visit family.  My husband may have to order me some Valium, since it's probably the only thing you can buy cheaper in Canada than the US. 

2) Expect a ludicrous amount of mail from the CRA filled with smiley faces.

This one was most disturbing.  I am amazed and just how much mail you get from the government.  I was rattled when the government (not my doctor mind you) sent me mail saying I should make an appointment for a pap smear.  I wanted to burn that in effigy.  I miss HIPAA .   Seriously.  I have no qualms paying Caesar what is his, but I absolutely refuse to bow down and love Caesar for getting involved in my personal life.  And sending me brochures discussing health-care with happy women gracing the cover smells more like desiring me to worship Molech than anything else.  Subsidiarity I say!  Subsidiarity!  For all that socialized medicine stands to entail for the poor, I have no qualms with wanting the government's lecherous hands to firmly placed back in it's own pockets.  Obama-care is messed up, true.  But I've had enough of government swarthiness, and would rather go home and deal with that hot mess.

Granted, I know that the US is no pick-nick either.  I've had visions of burning down the building where they keep blood samples and genetic information on my children.  (While buying my own island somewhere away from the long-arm of the government.) It's equally as disturbing and feels like a total violation of privacy. 

The point is no matter where you stand, there is no such like as true privacy or true rights.  You have to fight for both.  And don't let anyone take them from you while trying to sell it to you with a smile.  It's why the Chinese have a hard time throwing off their "benevolent" government and why DREZ's comment was totally uncalled for.

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