Most people seek ways to file their taxes correctly and on time. We try everything, from online tools to setting constant reminders. It turns out that the answer has been rooted in human behavior all along. Psychology offers some tips on how to approach Tax Day boldly and file like never before. Here are five principles that will come in handy.
File your returns on time by staying motivated.
Motivation plays a huge role in most things we do. You can work longer on projects when you have motivation. It comes in many forms, from an end-of-the-year bonus to more affection from your partner. However, when it comes to filing taxes, the only motivation is avoiding penalties, which is often not enough.
You can find new sources of motivation in tedious tax filing by switching up your routine. You could get a new online tool to add some novelty. For this, you can try Taxfyle’s income calculator (https://taxfyle.com/income-tax-return-calculator). Another option is to break up the monotony by taking regular breaks.
Develop healthy money habits.
Great money habits can help you with your taxes and pretty much everything else. A study by renowned psychologist and Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman suggests that you can triple your savings by following strict strategies. These include saving without procrastinating and paying attention to personal biases.
Interestingly, paying attention to your biases can also help you with taxes. If you’re a ‘the ends justify the means’ kind of person, you may not be bothered by the orderliness of tax forms. The IRS, on the other hand, will be very bothered. Just being aware of this bias can help you handle your feelings better and prevent any errors.
Stave off procrastination.
Most people procrastinate filing their returns. Interestingly, people who may not procrastinate on other life activities suddenly slack off as Tax Day approaches. One study suggests that we tend to procrastinate tasks we don’t enjoy. But then, since nobody enjoys filing taxes, except people that do it for a living, what should we do?
The solution, it turns out, depends on the problem. If you put off the task because you’re afraid to get it wrong, your fix may be to get some help. On the other hand, if you ignore your taxes because you feel overwhelmed, try breaking them down into smaller, more manageable pieces.
Remove the imaginary barriers.
What do you think about when you hear ‘The IRS?’ For most people, they imagine a faceless governmental organization whose sole purpose is to tax every cent they earn. While some of that narrative may be true, the IRS isn’t as soulless as you may think.
It’s made of employees — regular people who are just trying to do their job. Demystifying the IRS can make filing taxes less intimidating, therefore making you less likely to commit errors. It also helps to know that the organization will actually help correct some of your minor mistakes, like simple math errors.
This tip isn’t based on any psychology theory per se, but just common sense. If you have trouble completing a task, the logical approach is to find someone proficient and willing to complete it for you.
Fortunately, you can find qualified tax accountants and CPAs to file an error-free tax return for you on time. What could be better than that?