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The Pizza Dude: The Taxman Cometh

The Taxman Cometh


March 24, 2008
By Roberto Vergalito

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The fall season is close upon us, and I hope all my
fellow pizzaiolos had a very prosperous summer – along with some
well-deserved vacation to the cottage.

The fall season is close upon us, and I hope all my fellow pizzaiolos had a very prosperous summer – along with some well-deserved vacation to the cottage.

Let me first say, it was an extremely hot one down my way and my sympathies go out to all of you who worked in a steaming, humid kitchen. Without a doubt, you still prevailed to be the best pizza around, despite the heat.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any vacation this summer. With a newborn at home, it’s difficult, but we still had a great summer and I wouldn’t trade it for all the money in the world.

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This summer I had a guest come to my pizzeria; an uninvited guest from the Revenue Canada (PST) audit bureau. I’m sure all of you are cringing right now at thought of it, but I assure you they did not get the better of me.

Revenue Canada focuses on cash businesses the most because there is much more of a chance that some people practice a little creative accounting. And we know the government wants to make sure they get their slice of the pie.

The initial phone call went something like this; “Hello Roberto, this is Revenue Canada and you’ve been randomly selected to be audited.” Gee, thanks! You couldn’t randomly select someone else?

It was as if I won something and should be honoured to be audited.

Anyway, it was going to happen whether I liked it or not. The only gratifying thing for me was the fact that my pizzeria reached 140 degrees the couple of days the auditor was here and I thoroughly enjoyed watching him sweat for a change.

When being audited for PST or GST, the first thing they do is count every pizza box you’ve purchased and give it an estimated average value per size. Then they count all your chicken wings and give an average selling price per wing and so on. In the end, if their totals don’t match your gross revenues, you’ll have a problem. You’re going to pay taxes on the difference, regardless if you are over or under the gross revenues.

Employee theft must also be recorded. If not, it will not be taken into consideration and, according to Revenue Canada, becomes a cost of doing business. Unfortunately, when people steal from Revenue Canada, they don’t consider that a cost of doing business. How nice it must be to have such justifications and double standards. 

My advice to all my fellow pizzaiolos is to take everything into account and record it. Write it down, document it so you can account for it, otherwise you’ll be paying taxes on it.

It just goes to show you that the old saying is totally correct, death and taxes are the only two things that are certain in life. Since I’m not dead yet, I guess I’ll be paying taxes for a while longer.

On a brighter note, the kids are going back to school, busy days lie ahead, and it’s time to get back to our regular routines. Let’s keep our heads up, make lots of money and don’t let Mr. Taxman get the better of us. I’m the Pizza Dude. Make pizza, not war.•


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