My favorite thing about taxes is how much work it is to account for the tiny amounts of money I make. It really gives me a chance to examine my life and feel terrible about it. This year I got a 1099 from the State of Illinois for $11! And while some might find this annoying, I see it as an opportunity. Here are my tips to make sure you’re not just doing your taxes, but really experiencing them:
- Put it off as long as possible. Theoretically this should mean until April 14, and in a perfect world it would. But at a certain point, the taxes’ looming existence will become paralyzing. This is the point where you need to begin working on it.
- Start small and work your way up. Make a TurboTax account, but don’t use it yet. Glance at one of your W2’s for a few minutes before bed every night, just to get familiar. Not too close to bedtime or you’ll have nightmares. Maybe around dinnertime?
- Imagine worst case scenarios. Like getting audited over forgetting to report $50 and somehow setting off a chain of events that leads to going to prison. Or forgetting to report $75 and somehow setting off a chain of events that leads to going to prison (all my scenarios end in going to prison).
- Drink. This is one of the best-kept productivity secrets, and it works in most situations. It’s hard to panic over those taxes when the edges of the forms have gotten softly blurry. (Disclaimer: If you do your taxes while drunk, refer back to #3 for further panic.)
- Cry. It never fails. Also, it’s inevitable so you might as well do it now.
- Hyperventilate. The crying might be enough, but if not, breathing too fast is a great way to get worked up into a full panic attack.
I still have not finished my taxes, but my using these simple tricks, I did keep myself from even starting them today! Time to cry in bed.