Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Render onto Caesar

Easter and income tax season coincide in my part of the world. Whenever I consider this task I cannot help but think of Render onto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and onto God the things that are God's. I don't actually mind rendering unto Caesar. I enjoy clean water, good roads, hospitals, airports, schools, national parks ... taxes are a small price to pay for citizenship in this country. What bothers me is the process. I swear the people who design Canada Revenue's T1 form and the accompanying instructions have an advanced degree in obfuscation!
My usual approach to the task is to delay as long as legally possible, then scowl, fret and sweat my way through it and hope the folks on the other end will believe I did my best and not penalize me for errors.

However, in the spirit of "sunny ways" I've resolved this year to tackle the job early and with a positive mind set. So, here goes.
  • We have income — that’s good. 
  • We have taxable income — even better. 
  • We have enough to share — those charitable donations not only reduce tax, but apparently make you feel just as good as eating chocolate
  • I bought a programme that does all the arithmetic so I don’t get hung up with wrong numbers. 
  • Having the year summed up in tidy columns of plus and minus is rather satisfying in a control freak kind of way. 

But doing my taxes reminds me there is so much more to life than the getting and spending of money. In 2015 I wrote a contemporary romance (it’s in the rewrite stages now). I outlined an historical romance. I wrote 89 blog posts, some here, others at my church blog and still others for my own blog. I wrote a Christmas short story and a Christmas play.

I planted a garden, tended it, harvested it and filled my freezer with home-grown goodness. I won ribbons at the Fall Fair. I read books, sang in choirs, nurtured my friendships and enjoyed my cats. I went fishing with my husband. I had a birthday. I made Christmas ornaments for my great nieces and nephews. We celebrated 27 years of marriage. I redid my website . . . 2015 was filled with beautiful days, amazing adventures, quiet moments and a few rain storms.  Definitely more in the plus column than the minus.

In Canada we have what is called "progressive" taxes. Those with the most, pay the most. Those with little, pay nothing. Seems fair, don't you think.

As I tot up my pluses and minuses in this Easter season, I remember that two millennia ago there was One who owed nothing, yet paid everything. I may wipe the slate clean with the tax department. I can never repay my debt to my Redeemer.  I humbly offer Him my thanks, my praise and my heart.
Christ is risen.  Hallelujah!

Alice Valdal  lives in Beautiful British Columbia, Canada. In 2015 she got a new publicity photo.

Published Books.


  1. US tax forms are just as unintelligible. Thankfully the Bible is a lot easier to understand.

    1. Oh, I like that. The next time someone says the Bible is too hard to read, I'll reference the tax laws.

  2. I live in New Zealand, and can fill in most of my tax information online. It's a lot easier, because if I indicate I don't receive a certain kind of income (e.g. dividends), it doesn't show me those fields. And it does all the adding up for me!

    And thanks for the reminder of the One who paid everything. So relevant.

    1. Just studied Abigail in Bible Study this morning. Another who had committed no fault, yet bore the blame for her husband. Seems to be a theme!