Tax-time Stress

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A 2004 survey by the American Psychological Association found that 75% of Americans say money is a significant source of stress. Heading into tax season, we might think that number is low.

The emotional tax

“Money is a major source of stress on people, and what tax season does is shine a great big spotlight on the issue,” explained Michael McKee, psychologist and president of the US branch of the International Stress Management Association. “Money takes center stage at tax time, even if you might have been able to push it to the wings the rest of the year.”

The fear of spouse and government

Spouses who are not in sync about money often feel emotional pain about their differences during tax time. Resentment between the saver and the spender will spike up as the annual review of spending takes place. Fear of the government also takes the fore. Even the tiniest deduction can raise doubt in some taxpayers. “They’re paralyzed because the IRS is an authority figure d if they have unresolved issues around authority figures in their lives, that can cause a lot of fear,” said Karen McCall, financial counselor.

Tips for taxpayers

Avoid last minute filing. Start early, break the job down into manageable pieces. Try listening to favorite or soothing music while pulling your receipts. Light a candle. Do whatever it takes to stay calm, focused and on task.
Avoid math anxiety. If you really hate math or aren’t confident about your skills, hire a professional. It’s not worth the anxiety or the cost associated with simple mistakes. Or, find a tax software you like and let the program do the math for you.
Avoid partner stress. You know it’s coming because it happens every year. Decide not to be emotional or accusatory. Ask simple questions, use simple answers. Write them down if you have to. Here to you may want to hire someone else to help put it all together.
Vow to do better next year. Stress reduction starts with getting ahead of it. Keep a spreadsheet of expenses or a special file for receipts and other documentation. Do a quarterly check up to make sure you are on track. When April 15 comes around, you’ll be prepared to dominate the process.

Source: WedMD


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