Tax season is a taxing time for the average person. No one likes forking over money to Uncle Sam — especially when they have to go to so much effort to figure out how much they owe, and understanding the penalties and fines associated with getting it wrong. It’s stressful.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to help you survive tax season with less stress, beginning with these 10 things.
- Give Yourself a Deadline. And Stick to It.
Do this at least for the crunching numbers aspect of doing your taxes. It makes no sense fretting over how bad it could be endlessly until D-Day (deadline day, AKA April 15), when you could crunch the numbers and be done with that part of it. It may take a little longer to come up with the funds, but knowing the score relieves stress.
Breaking you tax preparation up into steps, such as
- Gathering documents
- Rounding up receipts
- Choosing a tax preparer
- Scheduling an appointment
and so forth, can help you to break what seems like a monumental task into bite-sized manageable pieces.
- Get More Sleep
It may sound easier said than done, but doing these things can help:
- Create a standard bedtime routine to signal your brain it’s time to go to sleep each night.
- Go to bed, and get out of bed at the same time every day. Your mind and body love routines.
- Sleep on a CBD pillow to promote improved endocannabinoid systems within your body, which promotes serotonin (the happiness hormone) production.
These things work together to create a better rested, less stressed you all tax season long.
- Eat Healthy Foods
Eating healthy foods helps your body respond better to external stressors, and allows you to keep your cool throughout the tax season. According to UCLA, the following stress-reducing foods are perfect options during tax time:
- Dark chocolate
- Oranges and citrus fruits
- Salmon and other fatty fish
- Leafy greens
Even drinking teas or taking herbal supplements that include chamomile, mint, passion flower, and valerian root can be beneficial.
Another, often overlooked, stress relieving activity. Getting in at least 15 minutes of exercise per day during high stress periods can be helpful for your mind, mood, and your body.
Or engage in some other relaxing activity for a few minutes each day. This helps you set stress aside while focusing on activities that bring you pleasure or help you relax.
- Learn How and When to Say No
More important than you think, avoiding too much on your plate during times of high stress, like tax season, can help you get more done in less time. More importantly, it allows you to avoid the additional stress of overloading your dance card during an already hectic time.
- File Early
Don’t wait until the last minute to file and pay your taxes. Begin the process quickly, and finish early to spare yourself the months-long struggle of procrastination, guilt, and worry so many go through during tax season. This procrastination cycle is often the cause of much of the stress people experience during tax time. And, of course, if you’re expecting a refund, getting it early is motivation in itself.
- Use Software or Hire a Professional
Whether you’re expecting to owe taxes, or believe you’ll be getting a refund, it’s worth spending a little extra money to hire a professional, or invest in tax software to help you along the way.
Using a professional tax preparer or accountant can help you get larger refunds, find tax breaks you might not realize you qualify for, and save you the incredible stress of preparing your taxes on your own. It also helps you avoid potentially costly mistakes.
- Get Organized
Organization might seem like a tall order, but if you have all the documentation together, organized, and ready to use before you begin the process of filing your taxes, you’ll likely find the experience far less stressful than if you’re running back and forth, sifting through papers, and desperately searching for the documents you require.
Ideally, you will remain organized in your documentation throughout the year, so that when tax time rolls around it takes a matter of seconds to find the required papers.
- Explore Your Payment Options
While it is true that you could potentially pay your taxes for the year on credit card to avoid interest, penalties, or other fees, that may not be your best choice. By using the IRS installment plan there may be penalties and fees, but they are often much less than the final cost of paying the bill via credit card – and the stress that can create in the long run.
Reducing stress during tax time might seem like a long-shot, but these tips can help you do exactly that throughout tax season and beyond.
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