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How to Survive Tax Season

tax sign for How to Survive Tax Season at Holy in the Daily

“It’s income tax time again, Americans: time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen up that pencil, and stab yourself in the aorta.” —Dave Barry

Tax preparation annually threatens my mental and emotional stability. Collecting all the information for our CPA and double-checking the numbers is even more complicated when you have dyslexia and cataracts. The dyslexia I’ve had all my life, but the cataracts are new. Combined, they create a real challenge.

(And to answer your unspoken questions: Yes, I’m a methodical person, keeping all financial records organized, and yes, I’m having surgery for the cataracts sometime this spring.)

Normally, I put off doing taxes until the day before my appointment with our CPA, but that causes the job to grow bigger in my mind and increases my stress level. This year I’ve tackled the tax preparation problem by breaking the huge task down into smaller tasks and scheduling each task within a short time frame with a set deadline—no interruptions allowed.

Yesterday I got the first major task done in the allotted time. This afternoon I’ll finish two other tasks within a certain time frame, and tomorrow I’ll complete the project—again within a set beginning and ending time.

Mentally this causes me to focus on getting the job done instead of allowing it to become a mental stress monster. Because this is on my day planner and my husband has been alerted to not interrupt me, I don’t feel overwhelmed by something I don’t normally enjoy doing.

The key is to break down the mountain into manageable molehills. Schedule a set beginning and end time to complete each task, and don’t allow any interruptions during your work time (no phone calls, no emails, no chatting with the spouse or kids, and no side trips for a “surf the web” break.) The plan produces a positive stress that forces you to get a lot accomplished within a short amount of time.

I actually enjoyed doing taxes yesterday. I think I was finally able to put “taxes” in the “whatever you do” part of 1 Corinthians 10:31: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (NIV).

What do you do to tackle the boogeyman of tax preparation? How does that help you do your taxes “for the glory of God”?

In Him together, Susan Gaddis

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Karen Cassidy CPA

    You knew your CPA was going to read this, didn’t you? 🙂 Kudos to you for getting it done so early. See you soon!

    Oh, and “how do I tackle the boogeyman of tax preparation?” I prepare those returns for others and try to make it an experience that is not painful. And as you mentioned, do it all for the glory of God.

  2. Pati Gordon

    This is what I do. New Years Day and the first new days of the new year I put in order all my bank statements and print off any that I am missing…and put them in a marked folder for that year. I do the same with any credit card statements ( I have one) and my personal business expenses/sales. I have to file Sales Tax by the end of Jan. Once that is filed, I wait for all interest and contribution statements to come in….start adding everything up in the needed categories and hand it over to the CPA. The work is pretty much done except for the laws/exemptions I am unaware of. I don’t understand all the legal mumbo jumbo and I am glad that others do!

  3. Susan Gaddis

    Yes, Karen, I did know, and now I’m accountable to you to have it together when we meet next week. I hope I’ve done a better job this year than in times past. If not, just don’t tell me…OK? Honestly, just having you involved removes so much stress from my life. I LOVE MY CPA!!!!

    Pati, you are amazing. I’m going to put your plan into action next January if at all possible.

  4. Ron

    Greetings from Southern California

    I am your newest follower 🙂

    I invite you to visit my blog and follow me 🙂

    God Bless You, ~Ron

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