The Short Tax Return for Individuals


  • Start with your name: last first and then first last.
  • Do you have a preferred name?
  • Have you changed your name since your last return?
  • Have you changed your name in the last five years?
  • What did your name used to be? (Was it Amanda?)

  • What is your nationality?
  • Will you be staying on next year or will you become a fugitive, sleeping in the wild, dodging the patrols, living hand to mouth?
  • Will this be your last tax return? If so, please write ‘final’ in capitals.

Please use a black biro. No, not a blue one, a black one. Do you have a black biro? Would you like to borrow mine? Yes, it is a nice one; I want it back.

  • What’s your current address?
  • Have you changed your address since your last return?
  • What was your address five years ago?
  • Do you have an alias?
  • Are you using an alias now?
  • Are you pretending to be someone else?

The tax law imposes heavy penalties for giving false or misleading information and there’s really no point. I can look you up right here on my desktop. I am fingerprint, DNA and retina-scan enabled. Clickety-click is all it takes. Clickety-click and your details are laid out in front of me like a salad, like a buffet. And I can just stroll by and pick out whatever I choose. I might lift this lettuce leaf and see what’s lurking. Every day it’s eat-as-much-as-you-like Tuesday, so I can fill my plate up and then come back for more.


  • Use this box for your gross income – that’s income before tax.
  • Who is your employer?
  • What is their business address?
  • Any redundancy lumps? Pensions? Periods of Incapacity?
  • Any blanking out? Headaches, lost weekends?
  • Ever woken in an unfamiliar bedroom unable to remember your name or the name of the person next to you?
  • Did you receive any small payments? Considerations for a moment of unexpected kindness, a faded rose, a butterfly’s kiss?
  • Any franked or unfranked dividends?

I don’t know about you but I prefer franked even though unfranked is becoming more popular. They say franked has health benefits too but I think it should be a matter of personal choice. You have both? Really…Well gosh. I know this is unusual but could you…could I perhaps…just a brief look? For professional purposes of course. Here in the office will be fine we won’t be disturbed. Let me just…‘Rachel. Hi sweetie, can you hold my calls please.’ That’s … Oh…I see… I’ll just turn the desk light… Yes…that’s…very nice . Thank you. You can put it away now.

Is it hot in here?
Are you hot? It must be the aircon. We had a man in last week but it hasn’t…

Other income

  • Got a stash of cash?
  • Any notes bound with those thick elastic bands that you can pull really tight and then snap against your thigh?
  • Ever leave the window open and let the breeze rustle through the currency?
  • Have you tossed handfuls up in the air and then ran about ?
  • Do you have a favourite denomination: the nothing-to-prove hundred, the blushing twenty, the workmanlike tenner, the lobster, the pineapple, the pony, the gorilla?

Getting trashed with cash
Perhaps you are interested in something more adventurous? Like (whisper this) foreign exchange?

  • Ever lounged with the Lira?
  • Flirted with the Franc while deep down you yearn for the Yuan?
  • Had a heart to heart with the Baht or got real with the Rial?
  • Maybe you’ve eloped with Escudo?
  • Ever puckered up for the Pound or had a boner for the Kroner (and so on…)

Currency is down but the market is rising
Upstairs the ASX and the S&P push into uncharted territory leaving DAX on the floor. The Nikkei and the Hang Seng are brothers, drunk and stumbling on a bridge at midnight while below the Dow Jones flows darkly down to the Shanghai A.

No cautious diversification into long-term securities for you. Bonds? Nah. Too safe, too boring. You look market volatility in the face and laugh. Ha! Currency collapse, devaluations, diving derivatives, Pshaw. Everyone’s talking quantitative easing and monetary policy is stitched up tight but not you, my delicious neo-Keynesian. They’re  tweeting austerity with fingers-crossed for voodoo gains somewhere down the track while you, you plunge right in again and again, driving markets higher and higher.

Am I going too fast? Need to catch your breath?
But you want this. I see how you run your fingers over my estimates back and forth—of course my numbers add up.
Come get me tiger, I am aching with spare capacity.
Unbutton that position.
I’m up and down the length of your exposure (too crude? too base?).
I’m open for your liquid assets – give me all your cash flow.

While you remain fixed, I turn, I surround, I bend
I climb over you to issue my own modest dividend.

Something lyrical

We, being 70% seawater
(and the rest mostly air)
follow the moon’s passing.
Our dumb hearts, dark
muscular bags containing
oceans, lean and swell too.

But in the money sea
trillions circle hemispheres
again and again and again
in a trice, in a blink –
electromagnetic, anti-romantic.

Though ledgers tower above me, coarse
calculations can’t account for my longing.

Deductions and Offsets

Wait…stop that.
Sure you were fantastic, the best.
Yes, I saw colours.
No, I don’t remember which particular ones. All of them, the whole gamut.
Don’t pout so, I’ve just a few more questions…

Dependants! You didn’t mention dependants.
Yes, you should have said something.
Before we got to the remote localities allowance would’ve been nice.
What do you mean ‘I didn’t ask?’ I’m asking now.
Is there anything else you should disclose?
Anyone else ‘just slipped your mind’? Kids, an aunt under the stairs perhaps?
Well, right now I’m finding you difficult to understand.

  • Did you have a spouse for all of the year?
  • If you did not have a spouse for the full year write the dates you had a spouse between (I don’t care if she’s always criticising and you haven’t connected for ages).

Of course it’s something: it changes your whole…profile.


Wait, you’re going to leave her to be with me? How sweet.


Your assessment will be based on your tax return.


…I will need some time
…to review and
…I might amend
…my assessment
…a review shows
The standard review period is two years but…
…for some
…it may be
…much longer.

Sign here.


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