Tuesday, July 12, 2005
two for tuesdays; charity & generosity
Things like this makes one believe in the phenomenon known as SYNCHRONICITY - or meaningful coincidence. And it does not have to be of this type either to count as such... In case some of you missed it all - the month-old facts and the DAILY OM "special" about synchronicity are all to be found... in the comments / cornucopia section!
DEAN BEEBY - Sun Jun 12, 3:18 PM ET
OTTAWA (CP) - The Canada Revenue Agency has written off almost $2.4 billion in taxes owed but never paid after an internal audit found there was little likelihood of ever collecting the money.
The writeoff is the largest in Canadian tax history, and almost $1 billion higher than last year.
Much of the money struck from the books was for stale accounts, many older than four years, which an internal audit said have been piling up unpaid since 2000.
"Uncollectible accounts and aged inventory are two key areas that require attention to effectively manage the entire portfolio," says the draft audit from January this year, obtained under the Access to Information Act.
The document cites an agency review from March 31 last year that determined that 30 per cent of the $17.4 billion in taxes that were then owed but not paid - about $5.2 billion - was simply "uncollectible."
That high level of uncollectible back taxes makes the portfolio "unhealthy," the review concluded.
The auditors also determined that almost one quarter of all the money owed to the agency were files older than four years, with no money paid.
The amount of outstanding back taxes - personal and corporate income tax, GST and excise tax - has almost doubled over the last decade. As of March 31 this year, the federal government was owed $18 billion in overdue tax accounts, compared with just $9.6 billion in 1997.
Put another way, about 5.5 per cent of all the money owed in federal taxes as of March 31 this year is overdue, compared with about 4.3 per cent in 1997. About $8 billion of the outstanding taxes are owed by individuals; the rest are due from companies.
The audit, carried out between April and September last year, found that the growth in unpaid taxes was largely because the agency failed to purge bad accounts from its books, and kept adding accrued interest and penalties to this uncollectible debt.
The problem worsened in 2000, though no clear explanation has been provided for the shift.
The agency has routinely written off between $800 million and $1.5 billion in bad debts each year, but in 2004-2005 - prompted by the audit - cranked up the level to more than $2 billion for the first time ever. Still, the purge was less than half of the $5.2 billion deemed uncollectible by the agency's own estimate.
In addition to the unprecedented purge of bad debt, Canada Revenue Agency spent an additional $7.8 million in efforts to slow the rise in unpaid taxes, partly by finding new ways to chase reluctant taxpayers.
The agency, which employs about 4,000 people to recoup overdue taxes, is prevented from hiring outside collections agencies because of the confidentiality of tax information.
A spokeswoman for the agency said that even though the bad accounts are being removed from the books, the government does not forfeit the right to demand payment at some future time.
"A debt to the Crown is never completely written off," Colette Gentes-Hawn said in an interview.
"It can always be brought back. . . . They're never really off the hook."
A man who runs a private collection agency in Ottawa said large companies normally hand him accounts to chase down when they're 90 to 120 days overdue, not two to four years.
"The bigger clients would never let them get that old," said Brian McQuaid, of M. McGrath Canada Ltd.
"If you were my credit manager and you had four-year-old accounts, I'd be very worried about you. . . . That's an awful long time to be holding onto them."
McQuaid noted that the federal government has tools readily available to help ensure such tax debts are paid, such as the ability to track people through social insurance numbers.
Canadian laws... eh?
As flexible as snow in the summer... *LOL*
June 12, 2005 - 5:10PM
Leaders of the world's wealthiest nations have reached a groundbreaking agreement on debt relief for some of the world's most impoverished nations.
The historic deal, announced overnight in London, will immediately wipe clean $US40 billion ($52 billion) worth of debt owed by 14 nations in Africa and four in Latin America. An additional nine countries could join the list in the next 12 to 18 months.
"We are presenting the most comprehensive statement that finance ministers have ever made on the issues of debt, development, health and poverty," said the British Finance Minister, Gordon Brown.
"The G8 finance ministers have agreed to 100 per cent debt cancellation for heavily indebted poor countries," said Brown, who was host to the two-day meeting of finance ministers from the Group of 8 leading industrialised nations.
Instead of spending $1 billion to $2 billion a year on interest payments, the poor nations would be able to redirect the money toward development projects. Among the nations that will benefit immediately are Mozambique, Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia and Bolivia.
The agreement sets the stage for what is expected to be the dominant theme of next month's G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland.
Brown said the debt relief plan would allow political leaders to "forge a new and better relationship, a new deal between rich and poor countries of the world".
Members of the G8 are the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia.
Brown and Britain's Prime Minister, Tony Blair, have become leading advocates of Third World debt relief. Their efforts have been given a considerable publicity boost in recent weeks by Bob Geldof, the Irish rocker who is organising a series of concerts and a demonstration around the July summit.
Most of the debt that is being written off is owed to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank.
The idea of cancelling the debts of poor nations has been gaining momentum for several years, but questions arose over the best way to approach it. If lenders like the World Bank and the IMF write off loans, it means they have less money to make loans in the future.
That approach was preferred by the Bush administration, but Britain and other European nations argued that wealthy countries should take over the debts themselves.
The agreement announced yesterday is apparently a compromise brokered by Brown in which the lenders will write off the debts but receive compensation from donor nations.
"We will not jeopardise the ability of these institutions to meet their obligations," Brown said at a news conference.
The United States will contribute an additional $1.3 billion to $1.7 billion a year to the lending institutions.
"A real milestone has been reached," said US Treasury Secretary John Snow.
"President Bush's commitment to lift the crushing debt burden on the world's poorest countries has been achieved. This is an achievement of historic proportions."
The agreement goes further than the one announced last week in Washington by Bush and Blair and could eventually be expanded to include many more countries as soon they meet targets of good government, extricate themselves from armed conflicts and take steps to fight corruption.
"There is potential for 60, 70, even 80 countries to benefit from this," Brown told Britain's Sky News.
Irish rock star and activist Bono, who has been a leading figure in a long-running campaign to lift billions of dollars of debt off the backs of African nations, welcomed the agreement, but said much more needs to be done to eradicate poverty.
"What we have here today is a little piece of history," the U2 frontman told Britain's Sky News.
"There's more to go to really make this an end to extreme poverty, of course," he said, speaking from the German city of Cologne.
"But this is one of the three asks that we have - debt [relief], a deal on an increase in aid flows, and a deal with the unfair trading that goes on between the richest countries and the poorest."
He acknowledged that debt relief cannot be divorced from the issue of better governance in Africa, saying: "Corruption is Africa's problem - it's actually the most important problem."
"There's no point in cancelling the debts and ending up redecorating presidential palaces," he said. "That's not the point."
Of course... what you gonna do... break their legs if they owe you? It's a freaking COUNTRY for crying out loud...!!! *LOL*
Everyone has experienced the pleasantly surprised feelings left behind by a meaningful coincidence. The situation itself may be insignificant - the book whose title you couldn't remember falls off the bookstore shelf or an acquaintance who seems to enter your life again and again - but the message inherent in the coincidence may not be. Synchronicity, or the unlikely conjunction of events, can be an eye-opening experience.
Psychologist Carl Jung theorized that synchronicities occurred when universal forces were aligned with the experiences of an individual, leading to coincidences that appear to be more than just chance. These incidents happen because everything is innately connected. He believed that such events can be called forth by an individual's unconscious needs. Nothing occurs randomly. Rather, we draw certain people, situations, and blessings to ourselves.
A synchronistic event such as a chance encounter can be positive, negative, or neutral, and feel deeply mysterious or commonplace. Some coincidences are obvious while others are not apparent until after careful analysis. Perhaps during an ongoing financial crisis, you always found just enough money to get by. Or a recurring dream prepares you for an eventual physical event. Many times, synchronicities represent opportunities to learn about ourselves and the external world. If you feel touched by multiple coincidences or intrigued by a single one, ask yourself why you may be attracting the people involved or the situations. Is it highlighting some aspect of your life or suggesting a course of action? The soul, believed Jung, whispers to us through synchronicity calling us to attention.
Seeking the meaning behind a synchronistic event can help you know yourself better, kick start your creativity, or show you future pitfalls to avoid. The most profound coincidences often occur at life's crossroads, stopping us in our tracks and leaving us to find the meaning within.
It seems as if Synchronicity has played a part in my own life too.
Thanks so much for posting those arciles and the Daily OM about
Incredible Coincidences & Synchronicity.
It really opened my eyes to see that things that I thought were just mere coincedences in my life might be much more!
First off, an e-mail from Halifax, N.S.
"So Carl Jung thought that significant coincidences were caused by "universal forces" being aligned with your experiences...that's funny - unless he's willing to accept that God is that "universal force" (a phrase, by the way, that I would never use to describe God - He is not some impersonal force, but rather a personal being). I love it when God brings meaningful "coincidences" into my life, and they quite often make me think of the book of Esther in the Bible - now there's a book that's full of "coincidences" - it's the only book in the Bible where God is not mentioned directly, but His work is seen in everything that occurs. It's a great look into how God directs the course of the lives of everyday people, even those that are not aware of it!"
Amen to that! :)
"Synchronicity happens all the time. Nothing is merely a "coincidence". Everything happens for a very valuable reason. Always be AWARE of your life and all that's around you and look at events at a more deeper level...and you will notice that the universe was actually having a conversation with you and you chose to listen to it. The answer may take some research and decoding...but once you find out what it means-it will hit you like a thunderbolt! CAPOW! Always analyze! AND ALWAYS KEEP YOUR FINDINGS TO YOURSELF AND SACRED WITHIN YOUR HEART!"
My luminous conclusion is: luminous blog readers are luminous readers with wisdom TO SPARE!
I am privileged to have such a readership - thank you all!
(even you - Paul! *LOL*)