Filing Taxes Is Extremely Stressful for Me. Here's How I Cope

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  • As a self-employed business owner, filing taxes is a time-consuming process for me that takes away from my work time.
  • I manage the process by budgeting my time well and reminding myself that the stress will be over in time.

It's all about repeating a certain mantra.

It's probably fair to say that most people don't exactly enjoy the process of doing their taxes. After all, sitting down to comb through documents, bank statements, and various financial forms is a lot less appealing than sitting down to binge-watch TV or curl up with a good book.

But unfortunately, taxes are unavoidable. And for some of us, they're extremely stressful.

By "some of us," I mean me, specifically.

I'm self-employed and own my own business, so that means I might have to provide more documentation than the average filer. After all, I need to give my accountant records of all of my business expenses during the year. And rounding up those business expenses, from office supplies to utility bills, is time-consuming.

I also happen to own certain investments that require special tax forms -- forms that typically aren't issued until mid-March or later. So even if I wanted to file my taxes early, most years, that's just not feasible.

Now, I'm sure I'm not the only person for whom taxes are a big source of anxiety. But I cope with that stress by doing these things.

1. I get really organized

When it's not tax season, I find myself busy enough juggling my job with parenting and running a household. So during tax season, when I'm carving out extra hours to deal with paperwork related to my return, I need to make even better use of my time.

That's why I specifically get myself hyper-organized from early March through mid-April, which is when I commonly find myself focusing on my taxes. I actually block off time on my calendar for tax return purposes so I know I have those hours allocated in advance. Doing so helps me stay focused and avoid a last-minute crunch.

2. I use a seasoned accountant whose knowledge I trust

Filing my own taxes is something I would never dream of doing. There are just too many nuances and rules for me to keep track of. And in doing the job myself, I'd be nervous about claiming the wrong deductions or missing out on ones I'm entitled to.

That's why I outsource my tax return to a professional. But I also use an accountant who's proven to have deep knowledge of the tax code.

I probably pay more money to have my taxes done than the average person (though to be fair, that's partly because I own a business). But I also know I'm getting someone with extensive knowledge, and who has the ability to use that knowledge to my benefit.

3. I remind myself it's only a limited-time thing

Each year, at the start of the tax season, I commit that year's filing deadline to memory. And when the stress gets to me, I simply tell myself, "It'll all be over by April 18" (at least this year, since that's the 2023 filing deadline).

I can't take the same approach with work-related pressure -- that's just a perpetual part of my world. But with taxes, I know there's an end date in sight. Reminding myself of that makes the stress easier to cope with.

Taxes can be a drag no matter your circumstances. But I have to admit that they're a common cause of stress for me every spring. Thankfully, I have a game plan in place for combatting that stress -- and getting through the filing process with my sanity relatively intact.

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