Tax preparation and filing is not easy particularly if a person does not have adequate financial knowledge. Moreover, every country and state has its own laws and regulations, and it is very difficult for a person to keep up with the dynamically changing tax regulations. This is the reason that a number of people suffer from stress during tax filing season (Palmiter, 2014).1
Tax Stress Syndrome: What Is It?
Tax stress syndrome, as the name implies is a form of stress triggered by mental pressure during tax season. Characterized by lack of sleep, frequent episodes of mild to sever migraine, loss of appetite, tax stress can impact the overall health of a person. Common stressors of tax stress syndrome are:
· Inadequate knowledge about tax return and filing procedures.
· Fear of stiff IRS penalties.
· Risk of errors.
Impact on Mental Stability
According to a research article published by Chang (2014), 2 constant tax stress can lead to severe depressive diseases. A person suffering from financial depression, cannot give adequate attention to his/her family, thus stressing other relations as well. The report highlighted that APA (American Psychology Association) conducted a primary survey in 2004, according to which approximately one-third of the American citizens suffer from some kind of financial stress. The complicated guidelines of IRS and constantly changing tax laws make it more challenging for a person to keep his/her nerves calm during tax filing season.
Ways to Relive Tax Stress
According to Sarah (2014), 3 the following ways can help a person relief stress during tax season:
· Therapies - Therapies are not only effective in strengthening the nerves of a person for tax-related stress only, but they can effectively help overcome all kinds of negative stressors.
· Expert Advice - A number of people with inadequate knowledge about tax keep on trying to understand the typical accounting terminologies and end up stressing themselves out. Sarah suggested that a better way is to consult an expert for proper advice and guidance.
· Stay Organized - Keeping all the documents organized is probably the most effective way to manage time during tax filing season and avoid tax stress.
· Discuss - It is strictly recommended to discuss issues with family, forms or a counselor. This helps a person vent out stress and also gives him/her a new perspective to analyze the situation.
Tax Management Tips
According tom Welch and Rockmore (2008), 4 the following tips can help people file and prepare tax documents and avoid tax stress:
1. Professional Help
Contrary to the perception that taking professional help for tax preparation and filing would cost more than doing it on your own, professional consultants can save people from stiff penalties. Hiring a professional tax preparer not only eases the complexities of tax filing and documentation, but also allows people to manage their time strategically. Moreover, without having adequate knowledge about the dynamically changing tax laws, it is nearly impossible to avoid tax preparation errors.
Another reason people are advised to hire a professional to avoid tax stress is the complexity of tax return procedures. Tax preparation and requirements are different for different cases. For example, a business owner needs to follow different tax preparation procedures than an employee. Therefore, hiring a competent and reliable tax preparer can effectively help a person manage his/her time and keep all the documents in order. Experts can help people in avoiding the following mistakes that can cause tax stress:
· Entering Wrong Information - Entering incorrect or inaccurate information can cause a person to pay stiff penalties.
· Comprehending Terminologies - Due to lack of knowledge, it is difficult for a person to understand terms and conditions of tax preparation forms. A professional can help by translating typical terms into layman language.
2. Professional Guidance and Counseling
In order to cope with the chaos of tax preparation and filing, it is very important for a person to keep his/her nerves calm. Counseling sessions with a professional tax preparers or accounting consultant not only helps a person avoid tax preparation errors, but also helps in releasing mental stress. Moreover, a counselor can also help a person in choosing the most profitable credits and deductions options (Pirillo, 2008).5
Welch and Rockmore have also mentioned that filing tax electronically not only provides people with the convenience of tax preparation and filing, but also saves a great deal of time. This option is recommend by IRS provides tax filers with enough time to calmly fill all the forms and compile required documents before applying for tax filing. Moreover, in case of any problem, a person can also seek online assistance.
1. Palmiter D. (2014). Thoughts and behaviors for managing Tax Day Stress.
2. Chang L. (2014). How to Cope With Tax-Time Stress Experts explain ways to avoid the emotional storms of tax season.
3. Sarah (2014). Preventing TSS (Tax Stress Syndrome).
4. Welch S., Rockmore A. (2008). Preventing tax-stress syndrome.
Christie Hunter is registered clinical counselor in British Columbia and co-founder of Theravive. She is a certified management accountant. She has a masters of arts in counseling psychology from Liberty University with specialty in marriage and family and a post-graduate specialty in trauma resolution. In 2007 she started Theravive with her husband in order to help make mental health care easily attainable and nonthreatening. She has a passion for gifted children and their education. You can reach Christie at 360-350-8627 or write her at christie - at - theravive.com.