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Matts (1087)

Matts
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I work for MessageLabs [messagelabs.com] in Toronto, ON, Canada. I write spam filters, MTA software, high performance network software, string matching algorithms, and other cool stuff mostly in Perl and C.

Journal of Matts (1087)

Tuesday May 31, 2005
09:49 AM

Not blogging much

[ #24957 ]

I've been neglecting my blog, and for that I'm sorry as not only does it help me inform those who read here what I'm up to, but it helps me keep track of what I have done over the course of the year.

It's been busy. That's not unusual, but it seems like it has been busier than usual.

Here's a summary:

- We've been looking to buy a house. We're very close to making a deal on this - hopefully more news on it at the end of the week as I don't want to get my hopes up until everything goes through (financing, inspection, etc).

- I've been travelling quite a lot with work. I was in the UK a couple of weeks ago both to accompany Heather to a court case she had to give evidence at, and to spend a week in the office. This all went very well - I got a lot done, and the court case was fine (don't know the outcome yet). One thing is for certain though, the UK seems really expensive now - mostly because of this next point.

- I've been struggling to come to terms with the taxes here in Canada. I thought I would be much better off here - I took the naive approach of working out what I did earn, and converting it to $CAD, and looking at the price of things. Little did I know that the Canadian government would take 48% of my salary away from me right off the bat. Ouch. So we had to re-evaluate a lot of things, including how much house we could afford. I realised that this is why Canadians think the UK is so expensive - because compared to what they bring home it seems really bad. But I brought home more in the UK because taxes aren't so bad (they're worse than the US, but not terrible). I'm voting Tory next time despite this going against everything I believe in.

- I've been getting into photography quite a lot, and I'm really enjoying having a legitimate hobby again, instead of just coding. For those who haven't read my history I bought a Nikon D70. I've been trying to combine this with other interests such as improving AxKit::App::Gallery, but mostly I've spent lots of time out shooting, and even more time playing with post processing. What's interesting about the D70 is that the results from processing RAW files with a decent processing application (I bought Capture One LE for the Mac, which I can highly recommend) are about ten times better than the JPEGs straight from the camera. It's a shame reviewers focus on JPEGs, though I guess they are time limited and using RAW takes more time. I shall post here some of my favourite results so far in case anyone is interested. Also if you like photography please join the photogeeks mailing list - and spread the word.

- I'm booked into a hotel for YAPC::NA. Can't wait for that - should be great.

- Been playing table tennis. It rocks. I don't, but it's fun anyway :-)

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  • The 48% is only for the top tax bracket. You don't pay at that rate for your whole income ... just whatever's above the top threshold ($115k). More info here [cra-arc.gc.ca]. Off the top of my head, I would think you're more likely to pay 30-35% overall.

    For calculating what house you can afford, I would recommend you don't complicate things by doing conversions and calculating taxes. Instead, use the standard formulas that the banks use. One simple one is I think 29% of your gross income can be applied to debt load, but.

    • The 48% is only for the top tax bracket. You don't pay at that rate for your whole income ... just whatever's above the top threshold ($115k). More info here [cra-arc.gc.ca]. Off the top of my head, I would think you're more likely to pay 30-35% overall

      No, 48% is what they take overall. I come home with 52% of my income. Some have said this will change later in the year though it's been like that for 2 months now. Remeber this includes rather enormous pension contributions (which I'm sure I'll see bugger
      • You might want to talk to a tax planner to figure this out for your first year. Pat Rush at H&R Block on Highland at Victoria (in Kitchener) has experience dealing with US cross-border issues; I can strongly recommend her. There is a fairly good chance that you'll get a sizable refund at tax time.
        --

        -DA [coder.com]

        • Thanks. I'll try and remember that when tax time comes around (it's in the new year isn't it?)
          • Tax day is April 30th. ...But IMO don't wait 'till spring; they may have tax-saving tips that will save you a pile of money if you do them /before/ the end of the year. Or possibly adjusting your withholding if it's way too high, so you're not giving the taxmen an interest-free loan till next april...

            There are more lenient laws on home-based businesses in Canada (than in the US) so if you work from home, you may be able to deduct a fraction of various expenses, etc...

            It may even save you money if you see
            --

            -DA [coder.com]

      • I think there has to be something wrong there. Unless you are *substantially* over the top threshold the right range *is* 30-35% including all deductions (LTD, pension, EI, taxes). Have you talked to your payroll department?

        Regardless - you seem to have acclimated very quickly - complaining about taxes is a national passtime. Welcome to Canada.

  • I'm booked into a hotel for YAPC::NA. Can't wait for that - should be great.

    Aha -- a chance to claim my beer [perl.org]. :)