If filing, or trying to file, your taxes has driven you to the brink, them maybe you need to consult a therapist.
No, not a psychologist or psychiatrist. A tax professional.
"Financial professionals, after all, are among a small group of confidants -- like physicians or priests -- with whom we share very private information and who accompany us during moments of reckoning," notes Rob Baedeker in Tears and taxes: Meet my therapist, the accountant.
Baedeker spoke with enrolled agents, CPAs and tax lawyers and discovered they encounter common patterns during tax time.
When it comes to couples, for example, one partner tends to be generally on the ball when it comes to taxes while the other is just along for the ride. That's not a big surprise; the same thing happens the other 11 months of the year when folks focus on general finances.
But more interesting is the potential for taxes to predict marital problems.
A lot of emotionally charged family issues stem from taxes. "Sometimes I know about a divorce before the spouse," says one accountant.
Hmmm. Maybe Tiger and Elin or Sandra and Jesse should have been more involved with their 1040s.
Terror and tears: Then there is, of course, the ever present fear factor. Most folks are terrified of an audit.
One tax pro says he keeps a box of tissues handy since taxes tend to magnify other problems in people's lives and the can, understandably, can get very emotional.
Taxes have brought me to tears, too, though I must admit that my sobs were not for situations nearly as dramatic as those cited in Baedeker's article.
The first time I cried over a return was back in the early '80s. The hubby and I were still newlyweds and, as the pros noted, we had already settled into the routine of I'll handle our taxes and he'll nod his head when I tell him what I've done.
That year, though, he had to get more involved since he had a frantic, bawling wife who just couldn't wrap her head around a tax deduction in connection with her spouse's side business.
No, the hubby didn't take over the filing, but he did calm me down and give me a pep talk (and the option to hire a pro) so that I could pull myself together and complete the return.
But to this day, when I see a Form 4562 or hear the word "depreciation," I panic (and mist up) a little.
I'm listening: Do you view your tax professional as your filing season therapist? Have you spilled your deepest, darkest tax fears in your accountant's office?
And you tax pros, do you end up offering as much emotional as tax and fiscal counseling this time of year? Does it add extra pressure to your already stressful job?
Y'all can open up here on the ol' blog. Trust me, it'll make you feel better!
- Are you ready to file your taxes?
- Tiger tales, taxes and divorce
- Picking a tax pro
- Bad tax clients, revisited
- His, Hers and Theirs: How Couples Manage Their Money (austinwoman magazine)
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