Are you looking forward to April 15th this year? I now appreciate the process of filing taxes, but that wasn’t always the case. Tax day is a mirror for your relationship with money. If you stress, dread and struggle with facing and completing your taxes, you’re not alone, but you’re probably living in thick money fog throughout the year. Don’t worry, this vagueness and uncertainty can be managed and prevented through simple monthly personal finance routines. If filing taxes is manageable, satisfying and even empowering, then you’re relationship with money is strong, grounded in reality and clear. For many people, taxes are their biggest expense of the year. Read on to assess if you are a healthy taxpayer or may have a condition called Taxpayer Anxiety Disorder.
Characteristics of a Healthy Taxpayer
- Maintains a tax savings account
- Has a sense of control, calm and peace of mind while preparing taxes
- Uses an empowering, systematic approach to track personal and business expenses throughout the year
- Experiences a positive, easy and affirming relationship with an accountant based on trust and respect
- Takes time to reflect on what went well with taxes this year and what can be improved upon
- Makes necessary shifts now to set oneself up for success next April
- Receives tax refunds
Characteristics of People with TAD — Taxpayer Anxiety Disorder
- Suffers from negative behavior related to tax matters: overspending, overeating, overworking, distraction, deprivation, isolation, dishonesty, imbalance, poor physical health, anxiety, loss of sleep, restlessness, irritability or loss of appetite during tax season
- Owes back taxes
- Remains disempowered and uneducated about personal and business tax strategies, deductions and liabilities, a.k.a. “just signs the papers”
- Uses credit cards, overdraft accounts or lines of credit to pay taxes
- Avoids tax related responsibilities: paperwork, mail or phone calls
- Experiences behavioral paralysis and is unable to address tax problems in a timely manner
- Has a frightening, threatening or disconnected relationship with an accountant
- Does the same thing year after year expecting different results
- Unexpectedly owes taxes
I didn’t know it at the time, but I had taxpayer anxiety disorder for years. I used to be my CPA’s worst nightmare not to mention the stress I felt about money that impeded relationships, my physical health and left me feeling shame, remorse and malaise. Before getting help from a money coach, I was terribly disorganized with my finances, which contradicted the Type-A tendencies in other areas of my life. I suffered through the tax preparation process by cobbling together somewhat reliable information based on boxes of receipts, scribbled notes in multiple notebooks, and reading bank statements line by line from multiple institutions.
Now, I am my accountant’s dream client. Ever since integrating a few simple financial wellness tools into my personal and business finances, all it takes is a few clicks to generate exactly what I need. Amazingly, the discipline for staying in control of my money and out of the money fog takes only about 30 minutes a month. In order to feel consistently confident in your financial life, you must have a personal bookkeeping system. Receiving bank statements by email is not enough. There are innumerable apps, software programs, bookkeepers and even specialized bank accounts these days to help you track and analyze your spending, saving and earning. Choose one process and stick with it. Work on your mindset too. If you tend towards negative, scarcity thinking about money, address it with money affirmations, journaling about money, and regular self-care. All of these positive, healthy actions can with help you to focus your mind and shift from survival to stability to affluence. When you’re thinking abundantly about and appreciating your money, you will attract other people who are healthy with their finances, higher paying jobs, be able to maintain a cushion in your accounts and sustain savings. The law of attraction works, try it! Healing my relationship with money was the best decision I ever made and because of it, my life and business continue to improve and expand year after year.