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Today's quote:

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Tell me the tales that to me were so dear

1987 Form B, a little more detail than the simpler S-from, but still only two pages


Remember the days when a tax return consisted of just two pages, and all you had to do was choose between the B-form for businesses, C-form for companies, T-form for trusts, and S-form for salaries and wages, which was for most of us.

Those were the days of simply transcribing a set of numbers from one's Group Certificate, add whatever interest one may have earned in the bank, and chuck in a few work expenses like safety boots or the Daily Telegraph - in fact, all that was required was the intelligence of the average Daily Telegraph reader! - and your tax return was done.

Then something terrible happened: sometime in the early 90s someone in the Australian Taxation Office - probably the same madman who changed the lay-out of the Group Certificate three times in the same year, keeping me in the money by constantly having to reprogramme my clients' payroll software - came up with TaxPack consisting of so many pages that it required its own instruction pack consisting of even more pages - the 2018 instructions ran to 80 pages! --- and it kept growing!

Those who'd already given up on their multi-page tax returns, weren't going to get even more confused by trying to understand the "Add amounts at items D1 to D" and "If you answer NO, you do not need to complete this section. Go to page 10" 'explanations' in TaxPack - which kept changing every year! - but went straight to their accountants or the likes of H&R BLOCK who had new offices springing up everywhere.

The Australian Taxation Office must've realised that they were wasting huge sums on printing and mailing out millions of unwanted and unread TaxPacks as they have totally disappeared in recent years. I had hoped that the "author" of this least-read manual in the world had been shot dead but apparently you can still request it by phoning a certain number and going through a series of "If yes, press 1, if no, press hash" etc.

Well, tax time is approaching again, and I'm longing for the simple tax return forms of yore. Bring back the forms that to me were so dear.

Long, long ago; long, long ago.

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