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6 Simple Ways to Make Filing and Paying Your Taxes Easier

If you live in the United States you are most likely aware that today is tax day. (And if you live somewhere else it’s likely coming right up.)

While paying taxes is not my most favorite thing on the planet, I have come up with a few ways to make it easier, more pleasurable, and more fun.

Why put in the time and energy to make something seemingly so un-fun fun?n fun?

Most of us are going to pay taxes every single year until our last year on the planet. When tax time comes around it should not come as a surprise to you.

Yet, it’s a cultural norm to complain about it. But here’s the thing: why bother complaining about something that’s never going to change?

Instead of complaining about things we can’t change, we can change the way we relate to them. (Tweet it!)

My feeling is this: if we know we’re going to pay our taxes every year, why allow ourselves to be sucked down by the generally griping about it every single year too?

We always have a choice. I choose to make things light whenever possible. You with me?

Here are 6 ways to make the tax season feel lighter this (and every) year:

1. Turn your canoe the other way.
When you find yourself caught in a whiny conversation about taxes (whether it’s going on in your own head or with other people), you can either find a way to change the direction of the conversation, change the topic, or leave the conversation. Don’t get caught in the downward spiral. Paddle the other direction.

2. Be prepared.
Tax season is coming every single year. This is not a surprise. If you’re a business owner or freelancer, put a certain percentage of everything you earn in an account that you don’t touch. Work with a team of financial professionals to help you stay on track. (An accountant is a great place to start. You may add a bookkeeper and financial advisor over time.) Read the book How to Save On Your Taxes Big Time by Sandy Botkin to know how to keep squeaky clean records. Knowing this stuff saved me tons of time and energy when I got audited.

3. Start a home-based business.
Former IRS attorney Sandy Botkin says that people who don’t have a home-based business could by be over paying their taxes to the tune of $3,000 to $9,000 every year. When you run your own business from home there are tons of expenses you can deduct that you’re already spending money on to decrease your taxable income. Examples of this would be mileage, meals out, entertainment, travel, and a portion of your cell phone bill. (I’m not a CPA. Please consult a financial professional for details.) An inexpensive, no-experience-required way to start a home-based business is to work with a high-caliber network marketing company. My family and I have partnered with one for nearly 20 years. To learn more about our product partner and working with our team, click here.

4. Bless your tax payments.
There are certain things that government spends money on that I don’t feel aligned with. But, there are other things that completely resonate with my values. When I send my tax payments in, I send them with the intention that my contribution will go towards building safe roads, maintaining our gorgeous natural environment, improving our educational system, and supporting the arts, to name just a few. I bless the money, release it fully, and see it going towards programs that make the lives of my fellow citizens better, as well as my own.

5. Focus on the season.
Luckily tax day falls in the springtime if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. Even in Maine where there’s still a little snow on the ground and we have yet to see any green on the trees, it’s easy to be grateful this time of year. It’s warmer, the sun is out more, the birds are chirping, and the whole world is being reborn. When you go out to pop your tax return in the mail, notice how the world around you is waking up. Breathe the fresh air and take a moment to fully appreciate the energy of this time of year. The likelihood of your being able to do this without breaking into a smile is slim to none. And remember, the energy that we surround our financial activities with infuses our entire lives. Choose gratitude. Choose abundance.

6. Choose freedom, not guilt.
In years past when I was just starting out as a business owner, I didn’t save enough money for my taxes. And even more recently I’ve needed to file an extension because life has been so busy that I haven’t gotten my paperwork together in time. I have spent months wracked with guilt about these things. I’ve felt like a failure, like a total loser, and like a poor excuse for a business woman. But, a few years back, I realized I had a choice: I could choose guilt or freedom. So, while always setting the intention to improve in my preparedness every year, I have chosen freedom. I realize that my ability to file receipts is not the only thing that determines whether or not I am adding value to the world, and I’ve let myself relax a little when my taxes aren’t filed by April 15th on the nose. And I get a little bit better about it every single year. It’s possible to improve while still being gentle with yourself.

May tax season this year and every year forward become a lighter time for you and your family. And may we all continue to find ways to enjoy the seemingly unenjoyable in every area of our lives.

OVER TO YOU:

Which of these strategies for lightening up your tax season resonates with you the most? Got any to add to the list? I’d love to hear your ideas, so please leave a comment below. I’m excited to hear from you!

If you found this post helpful please share it on Facebook and Twitter and forward it to a friend who could benefit from a little lightness around their taxes, too!

  • Kate, these are great suggestions for keeping things related to taxes and finances positive! You have such a refreshing point-of -view….Thanks for sharing these tips! Blessings to you and Mike!

  • karen says:

    Gratitude: for being able to pay what i owe incrementally(no pun intended), for still having employment after taxes

  • Thank you. I choose to be free from fear. I will bless all out going money. Knowing that my work/contributions will bless others.

  • Jennifer says:

    This year is the first time AGES that I owed (it was a very unusual financial year as I sold my grandparents house.) And it will need to be paid off in installments. BUT I’m grateful I have the ability to pay it off and it made me think about how I will tackle my taxes next year. I have a regular job but I also have a voiceover business that is expanding rapidly (yay me!). Before this unusual year, I wouldn’t have thought much about it but now I’m thinking and planning ahead. So again, yay me!

  • Another very easy way to save for taxes is to put yourself on payroll and pay yourself regularly through a service like Paychex. It is easy and makes life even easier at tax time.

  • Paula says:

    I put a deadline on my tax return on March 15th so as to be TOTALLY ready.

    It actually doesn’t behoove you to get money back. It simply means that you have OVERPAID throughout the year and the state and feds are using your money.

    If I get a bigger return than expected, I look at the way I have been working my money, so the government doesn’t get to utilize my hard-earned income. The closer I get to zero, the better. It feels like a bit of a game, squeezing one category and fattening another to have it come closer to the mark.

    Thanks for the great tips, I will look into Ms Botkin’s book, as I have never read it!

    More awareness, more confidence!

    Love to you and Mike,
    Paula

    • Kate Northrup says:

      Such a great point about getting money back and the government using your money in the meantime Paula. You’ll love the book!

  • Vicki James says:

    So grateful for your insights and intuition! I breezed thru tax season because: I filed receipts compulsively all year; kept good records on my calendar; worked with my CPA to assure we had the appropriate amount going for taxes each check; had our taxes finished by end of February; and embraced spring! I think I just summed you up! Wait…one more thing; I was as honest and truthful as possible !!!
    Hugs….hope to see you when I visit Maine and my sister…if only I knew where!

  • Gerri says:

    I love the thought of blessing my money for going toward causes that I support. My military friend reminded me of how blessed we are to have decent road and highway systems and running water. There are so many things that we take for granted and we are truly blessed. ❤️

  • Love your ideas! It’s so important to have fun with it. Here’s my take on it that I posted on my Journey Map Facebook page and Instagram. I’m calling today Abundance Appreciation Day:). I even made a great meme for it!…

    Happy Abundance Appreciation Day!

    Yes, you heard me right, Abundance Appreciation! What better way or day to appreciate your good fortune than tax day! To clear things up, I’m just as fond of paying taxes as you are and it would be very easy to moan and groan about the prospect, but it is what it is, so we might as well find the good in it.

    If you think about it, in tax preparation we get to see just how blessed we are with things like electricity, water, a car, and a home. We get to review how much money flowed into our lives every month. Stop! I know you’re saying, “…and flowed out.” Yes, it flowed out, but it went right to those blessings to keep you safe, warm and happy. Did you get to eat? Did you get to sleep? Did you get to laugh? Then you’re blessed! And, think of all those people you blessed with your abundance. You sent blessings to all those who work on your utilities, your home and your car. You’re also sending blessings to people you have no idea about. The government is so kind as to see that our blessings go to people we didn’t even know needed help. Ok, I slipped in a little sarcasm there, but it’s true. There are a lot of people in need that I don’t have time to find out about, so it’s taken care of for me. Even those who don’t need a dime, whether they’re getting a little kick back or finding a way to work the system, they need the money more than you or I do. They’re living in such desperate fear they think they have to cheat to get ahead. As we say in the south, “Bless their hearts!” ☺ We can feel fortunate that we’re not such slaves to our fears, so, truly, bless their hearts! Of course, there are things we would change, but until change happens, we can send our little stack of fortune with love.

    So, as you send off your little(or big) stack of love, say what Marie Forleo says, “There’s always more where that came from!” This is an abundant, ever-expanding Universe, and, yes, that includes the fortune that enters our lives. Keep it flowing!

    Happy Abundance Appreciation Day!

    ~ Teri <3 xoxo

    • Kate Northrup says:

      Wow Teri! I love the idea of Abundance Appreciation Day! And it’s so true – this time of year is such a great time to notice and acknowledge how blessed we are financially and otherwise. You are so spot on here!

      • Thanks, Kate! I’m grateful for your feedback. The idea fell pretty flat with my friends and followers, so I guess it may be a little too challenging. It’s so worth it to change your perspective, though. Love your work! Thanks for giving so generously of your wisdom!

        • Kate Northrup says:

          Keep being that light Teri. The world is ready for these new ideas – we just have to keep putting them out there with courage :)

  • Laura Barry says:

    We have a Quicken Business & home program that I keep up todate, on a weekly basis for the most part. My husband then uses Turbo tax to file them. If anyone is stressed about the taxes he is, yet it has been easier for him since I am in business with the best company (tax deductions).
    Thank you for the uplifting block. You gave me some things to think about and share with family & friends.
    Glad you had an awesome fun filled honeymoon!

  • One way I lighten the load is to remind myself that if I am paying taxes I must be earning some money! And, the more taxes I have to pay the more I must be earning. I say yaaay to putting some money away to cover that big bill and if running a business – then paying estimated taxes by the quarter is another way to keep it under control. I enjoy the challenge of keeping on top of the numbers so that I am not paying the taxes any further in advance however and certainly not more than I need to do. Why give the government a tax free loan? I prefer the idea of putting it in to some kind of savings account and making a little bit of interest on that. I also appreciate my accountant for the many ways they educate me in how to save on taxes. What I pay them pays off in spades, both in the tax savings and the peace of mind.

    Thanks Kate for all your positive practicality in this and for the book recommendation.

    • Kate Northrup says:

      Beautiful Caroline. Paying quarterly is so smart, as well as not paying more than you need to. And it’s such a good idea to find a great accountant to support you in all of this.

  • Lori Trew says:

    We can never have too many reminders! Thanks, Kate. I try to do a little something every day that I can pat myself on the back about. And I’m getting better at accepting “perfect timing” as a fact of life.

  • Dawn says:

    Thank you, Kate for sharing your inspirational and sensible perspective on a topic that gets more negative energy than it deserves. You are demonstrating your power to move this train in an entirely different direction. Looking forward to the ride! :)

  • Or Shahar says:

    There are three things in life you can not avoid: getting old, dying and paying texts

  • Kate – I love the tip about the tax deductions we can get from running a business from home. I fall into that category, but haven’t looked into that yet. I will definitely contact my tax adviser about it. Thank you so much for highlighting it!

  • Regina says:

    I love all these tips! For me, filing my taxes this year is all about gratitude and love. My relationship to money has been changing for the better as I treat my money with deep love and respect. It is a time of renewal and rebirth! Beauty and blessings all around!

  • Gina says:

    This is GREAT and so perfect .. just had a conversation with a girlfriend about this yesterday, and I am forwarding this information on. This info came the same day I received my “Money A LOVE Story” in the mail! Such a Wisdom Wednesday I had yesterday. Thank you for sharing your gift and bringing such value!

  • Lynn says:

    Mind & energies must be connected. I made the decision as I again pushed the last few days to be in a place of high energy and I can do this!! Turned the canoe. And, in my world I didn’t hear one complaint. From myself either! I find keeping myself prepared throughout the year to be tedious & boring. I made a decision to turn that canoe as well! During the scrambling. Great ideas. Heartfelt thanks. Your tips will be used to turn my preparedness canoe around! Love to you!

  • Katie says:

    Thank you for this, Kate!

    I *frequently* say that I wouldn’t mind paying higher taxes if it meant more money for things like health care, schools, daycare or the arts. And yet, I was totally grumbling last night about how much I have to pay this year. Ha! Thanks for helping me realign and bless that payment!

  • Laura Roman says:

    I’ve always hated taxes and writing the check has been the worst of it.
    Thanks so much for your tips and wonderful positive energy. I’m blessing those payments from now on.

  • Helena says:

    Thank you for the reminder to change the conversation in my head about paying taxes. I do like the fact I live in Canada and all the freedom that allows me. Paying taxes does help create the safe environment that I enjoy.

  • […] the hard facts of live: There are three things you cannot avoid in life- getting old, dying and paying  taxes (unless you’ve died before paying […]

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