It is exciting to get a big check each year around tax time. Just think of all the things you have been wanting to buy, but you couldn’t or wouldn’t spend the money. Maybe there are some needed repairs at home or on your truck, or you want to upgrade to the latest electronic gadgets.
Remember: The check you will receive is your money! Simply put, the government has been holding your money for the past year and not paying you any interest on it.
However, since you have proved that you have been able to live without this money for the past year, you could save or invest this money and put it to use later in life. Do you have a retirement account or an emergency fund that will float you through at least six months of living expenses? If not, this money could be used for you and your family’s security.
Calmness, organization, and filing early
How do you feel when you hear the date April 15? How many times have you filed for an extension on your taxes? What makes you file extensions? Does it really help you in the long run? Is this because of organization problems?
These are all questions that you have to ask yourself to identify why you might have these behaviors.
What thoughts go through your mind when you think of taxes? Fear of the unknown? Fear of owing money? Fear of dealing with the government and all of those forms?
Be sure to educate yourself on filing taxes, record keeping, and anything that worries you. The more you know, the less worry you will have.
Techniques for Keeping Calm During Tax Season
- Put a reminder in your phone to start working on your taxes on the first of January each year. Tax time is not a surprise and they aren't going to change the date on you!
- If you are an owner/operator, be sure to have a system for tracking your expenses and income. Don't just shove your receipts into a shoebox and expect to be able to sort them out at tax time.
- If you are not comfortable filing on your own, hire an accountant or tax professional to prepare your taxes. Often, a professional will save you more money in taxes than the amount of money you have paid them to help you.
- Tell family and friends that you will file your taxes early this year. If you tell other people, you are not being held accountable to your words.
- Look at stress as a test. Do you want to fail that test by getting stressed out?
- The only person responsible for your stress is you.
- Stress is energy. Are you going to use this energy for something productive or destructive?
Buck Black is a licensed therapist (LCSW, LCAC) in private practice who focuses on anger, stress, and relationships. He works from his office in Lafayette, Indiana as well as online at BuckBlack.com. Black also specializes in working with truckers and their families over the phone and on Skype at TruckerTherapy.com. You can also follow @TruckerTherapy on Twitter to learn more.