The Tax Return Program Took Me Hostage


IRS building

Image by afagen via Flickr

I promise you that it had nothing to do with laziness that I didn’t write a post in the last couple of days. No, I was taken hostage by the program that I had to use for my tax return. My book keeping seemed to have a slightly different definition of how the numbers had to be interpreted than this program. This drove me nearly insane. I got a little depressed, negative, overwhelmed, hopeless and started to doubt if I was capable to do this.
This last thought was kind of a slap in my face. The tax people who visited me in my home office for five hours were very enthusiastic about my financial administration and assured me that they wish they would see this more often. Most starters don’t even think how to set their administration up and don’t even have a little bit of education, they told me. They even told me that I am on the same level of knowledge like a regular accountant.

In one way or the other, their compliments about my capabilities made me feel bad when I discovered the mess in my administration. Funny as it may sounds, I had the feeling of disappointing them. I hate it to disappoint people and I try the best I can to make sure that this never happens.

Especially if you have procrastinate this duty until there is not much time left, it’s not a good moment to panic. Panic has a paralyzing effect and this will cost more of your valuable time. And guess what I did. Right, I panicked. The clock was ticking and I just couldn’t find the damn thing that made the difference between the results in my book keeping and the results calculated by the tax program.

The first step I had to do was overcoming the overwhelm. Subscribers to my newsletter will receive the technique I use to overcome overwhelm in the next couple of days.
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The second step was to relax and take a distance to the problem. Yes, I know this sounds weird when you have a deadline hanging over your head like the sword of Damocles, but it’s important to lose the feeling of time sometimes. In my case the perfect distraction was the visit of an old friend from school. The first time he visited me we hadn’t seen each other for 20 years, and now it was already 2 years ago since his last visit. My first thought was Damn, I don’t have time for this. But in the end it was just perfect.

The third step was lining out a list of actions to take, to prevent me from adding more errors to the whole thing. This is by the way something that panic will let you do easily: making things worse. So instead running around like a chicken without a head, you can better begin making your list of actions. Chunk everything in little pieces and they will bring you to the end result you need. That was exactly what I did.

In the end I started to browse through my book keeping from the start and found an error in June, what caused an error in July, what cause an error in August… OK, I stop, you get the picture. Finally everything fitted well, I decided that the taxes are not honest to us (my standard conclusion each year) and had the program send the rigth data to the Dutch version of the IRS.

So, if your still awake after reading this, you now know why I was absence for a couple of days.

See you very soon!
Mario

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