Running a business is stressful. Running a business this last year? Don’t get me started! And then, there’s tax season, which in any given year can be challenging. That’s a lot of stress! Your health and the health of your team are too important to disregard. Let’s put the pressure on pause by reviewing ways you can reduce stress during tax season, or any busy period for your business.
Reduce the stress leading up to tax time
- Get educated: Spend time with a reliable source and get an overview of what your business’s tax obligations will be. A little education will help you feel like you have things under control.
- Get organized: Maintain careful records throughout the year of what’s coming in and what is going out. Do not put off book maintenance and report running tasks. At the very least, make sure everything is in order every quarter.
- Be transparent: No one likes it when they are losing money, dealing with unforeseen expenses, or trying to manage any other issues that negatively impact your financials. However, denying the situation is a stressful secret not worth keeping.
- Do not delay: Set goals to stay organized and on top of what will be required at tax time.
Staying sane at tax time
First and foremost, don’t procrastinate. When you do, you’ll feel rushed to get to the finish line. When that happens, some inevitable mistakes and oversights follow:
You miss tax breaks: Whether it is for this past year’s pandemic or in a future year, make sure you are clear on all of the available tax credits and exemptions.
- You get scammed: Unscrupulous individuals are always very busy around tax season, offering shortcuts and on the cheap “help.” Make sure you check a tax preparer’s credentials and qualifications before you hire.
- You accidentally provide the wrong info: You’ve provided your name, address, and bank numbers a hundred times on dozens of other transactions. But Murphy’s Law kicks in, and on your tax paperwork, you make a mistake.
- You forget a status change: Filing statuses that can change over a year include Single to Married, Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separately, as well as Head of Household or Qualifying Widower.
- Your math is off: It happens to the best of us. That’s why the pros are here to help!
Do not ignore the effects of stress
If you are in charge, take the lead and help everyone manage workplace stress. The toll of long hours and high-pressure activities can be high if not acknowledged.
Pay attention to warning signs, and give your team the appropriate relief when they need it. Burned-out workers are less focused, more irritable, less healthy, more likely to exhibit negative attitudes, and more prone to mistakes. I applaud any leader that is doing what they can anticipate challenges, prevent burnout, and reward their team for their herculean efforts. Insist that they use their earned vacation—and don’t forget to take one yourself!