The accountant working on my tax return asks: Do you have a website to promote your books?
I confess: I have three – a book website, and a book trailer website, and a blog.
How many books do you sell as a result of them?
Ha ha ha.
Canada Revenue wants to know.
Ha ha ha.
I handle numbers about as well as I do chainsaws, with equally unpredictable and disturbing results. So at tax time everything goes to the accountant, leaving me with nothing to do except brace myself for how much I owe.
And that’s mostly fine with me. (I hate governmental waste and self-serving extravagance, and it’d be nice to owe nothing, nicer still to pay nothing in the first place, but even I’m not hypocritical enough to believe in the Common Good and expect to pay nothing towards it.)
The annoyance is not the taxes themselves, but the asinine questions Revenue Canada yearly manages to come up with, the unintentional humour of which doesn’t compensate for the time you have to waste answering them, although at the same time I have to thank them for prompting me to look up the noun form of asinine, and in the process to discover the word has been around since the 15th century and derives from the Latin asinus, meaning – you guessed it – ass.
Last year the tax people wanted to know why I travelled to Saint John to see a heart specialist. Had to explain there weren’t that many heart specialists in St. George, New Brunswick, population 1,200. (Not that many heart specialists in New Brunswick. Period.)
And this year they’re excelling themselves with the question about sales resulting from web sites. Not having a clue how many books the sites ‘sell’, if any, and with no way of finding out, even if I had the time and inclination to do so, in the end I made up an answer, probably perjuring myself in the process.
Books sold as a result of book website: 1
Books sold as a result of book trailer website: 2
Books sold as a result of blog: 3
Sound about right?
(Free book for anyone from Revenue Canada reading this in return for not ratting me out.)