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Do You Suffer From "Taxitis"? Some Helpful Remedies

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Definition: The emotional trauma and turmoil commonly associated with an impending tax return.

Common Symptoms:

  • Procrastination: Millions of taxpayers request extensions beyond the April 15th deadline every year.
  • Lack of Confidence: Surveys suggest an overwhelming percentage of respondents believe their tax return is very complex, and a majority either "hated" or "disliked" doing their income taxes.
  • Anxiety: When surveyed, almost half of Americans would rather go to the dentist than prepare their taxes.
  • Exhaustion: The average person spends hours (more than 12-14 hours) working on just the Form 1040 and more than 24 hours preparing more complicated forms.
  • Confusion: A majority say their federal taxes are too complicated and it's easy to become overwhelmed with new tax laws every year.

Suggested Treatment Plan: There are simple and effective ways to make tax preparation less painful and debilitating. These treatment options, if followed, will have multiple benefits including making tax preparation less painful, refunds more lucrative in
some cases, while achieving tax clarity and financial freedom.

  1. Know yourself and the personality traits, like anxiety, which can sabotage your financial well-being. My website, www.kathleengurney.com, has tools and information that can help you understand the psychology behind the way you manage your money.
  2. Develop a plan with timelines of steps you will take to comfortably handle and complete your tax return. Give yourself more than ample time and double up your efforts to assure you follow the steps and time lines.
  3. Use technology as your assistant. There are numerous software programs such as Quicken, Microsoft Money, Mint.com to name a few that will serve as your money manager, helping you plan and achieve goals, make tax-smart decisions and estimate tax returns all in one place.
  4. Set up a reward system: As you accomplish major tasks and objectives within your plan, give yourself a small token of success -- a valued reward of a fun activity with friends, family or co-workers. Or, if your budget allows, buy yourself that item on your wish list. Develop a more meaningful reward for finishing your taxes once that's accomplished besides a feeling of accomplishment and pride. If the tax return is on time, be extra proud of breaking through barriers.
  5. Seek a trusted source: It's a good idea to combat tax time with trusted information. Pent-up anxiety and rage regarding taxes will only exaggerate the symptoms of "Taxitis" and cause further procrastination. There is a vast amount of information online from various experts which can be very helpful.

Possible Side Effects: Side effects include increased confidence, less worry, more happiness, possible euphoria, tremendous sense of relief and exhilaration. If these side effects continue, or you experience larger than normal tax returns, easy to file tax returns, and more time with your family, be sure to thank yourself for following these tips.

With expert guidance and smart software, you can manage your "Taxitis" and get on the road to recovery.

Disclaimer: "Taxitis" is not a real condition. However, the feelings associated with this fictional ailment are real and can cause extreme discomfort. I have experienced them with clients in my practice as a psychologist specializing in money management.