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How to Cope With the Stress of Tax Season

How to Cope With the Stress of Tax Season

While the New Year is always a time to celebrate and hope for better things, it also means that tax season is upon us, and this reality brings with it stress for both accountants and taxpayers. While longer working hours and heavier workloads are very demanding for accountants during tax season, the worry of owing large amounts of taxes to the government is the greatest fear and cause of stress for the taxpayers themselves, and let's not forget it because of fear of a tax audit.

Unfortunately, we can't escape the stress of tax season because, as Benjamin Franklin said a long time ago, "only two things in life are certain: death and taxes." However, we can better manage how we deal with tax stress season tax season. 

Don't let the stress of tax season take a toll on your health. Increased stress levels can increase your risk of depression, anxiety, heart attacks, migraines, and ulcers.

Follow these tips to manage the stress of tax season.


According to the American Psychological Association, very few things stress Americans more than money. And while it's often a daily stressor, especially for those of us with the biggest financial troubles, during the tax filing process, we are faced with the sight of our entire financial burden.

Watching how much you earn and spend in a year can be depressing. And, of course, there's also the stress of a complicated filing process, especially for business owners, and worrying about the taxes you owe. Here are some tips to help you survive and deal with the stress of tax season:

Do not wait until the last minute.

When we are worried about something, we tend to put it off until the last minute. In the long run, this only exacerbates our stress. If doing your taxes seems overwhelming, break them down into smaller, more manageable tasks over a few days or weeks. Also, create an environment that helps you relax, like listening to your favorite music or lighting a candle. You can also reduce some tax headaches by using tax software or hiring an accountant to do your taxes.

Change the way you look at money.

While no one denies that you need money to buy food, pay for a roof over your head, and provide good medical care, worrying about money shouldn't dominate your life. Instead of worrying about making more money, focus on living comfortably within your means. Create a financial plan that works for you and your budget. Sticking to your budget will reduce long-term stress and give you control over your finances.

Focus on positive changes

You've probably heard the expression, "There's no point in crying over spilled milk. Instead of pointing fingers at who overspent or made the wrong business decision, focus on the future by using this time to create new financial resolutions. You can't change anything in the past, but you can change your future for the better, and making changes now for next year will help you weather the stress of next year's tax season.

Let go of what you can't control.

There will always be things you cannot control in any health or financial crisis. You cause more stress when you worry about things you can't change. Instead, take control of what you can, like selling household items you no longer use, making your coffee (instead of visiting your favorite coffee shop every day), and cutting unnecessary and recurring expenses. Like monthly clothing subscriptions. No more home streaming services and/or that take-out habit. Small changes can lead to big financial rewards.

A little treat is good for you in moderation.

To avoid giving up on your savings, don't be afraid to give yourself small gifts as rewards. If you've been sticking to your budget all week or month, make time for a little splurge on fine dining or craft beer you've wanted to try. Sticking to your new habit will be easier if you have something to look forward to.


Taxpayers aren't the only ones stressed out during tax season. Accountants work over 80 hours and deal with complex tax issues for the client during tax season, which can affect their mental and physical health. If you're an accountant, the following tips describe how to handle the stress of tax season:

Exercise and eat better

When we're stressed, we tend to crave things that make us feel bad, especially when it comes to food and alcohol. If you have a 10-hour workday, you probably want to eat what's available and convenient (even if it's not right for you), grab a few beers or a glass of wine, and enjoy yourself. Relax for the night.

A regular diet of alcohol and fatty foods causes fatigue, drains energy, and even affects sleep. During times of stress, it is essential to maintain a consistent routine of healthy food choices and to exercise regularly. Even if you don't have time to hit the gym or do an intense workout at home, just 15 minutes a day will energize your body, help reduce stress, and lower cortisol, the hormone stress. Go for a walk, do push-ups, or watch a short yoga video to get your body moving and reduce stress.

For meals, plan ahead, so you don't rummage through the pantry for high-carb, low-protein meals. Preparing healthy meals doesn't take much time, but it does take preparation. On weekends, plan your meals for the week and ensure you have all the ingredients you need. Having the ingredients ahead of time will help you deal with the stress of tax season, eliminating the need for extra mid-week chores while providing long-lasting nutrition.

Start the day off right.

If possible, with personal responsibilities, start your day early so you can start all the work that needs to be done that day and/or plan your day at your natural pace. If you know you're tired in the afternoon, schedule a snack, nap, or exercise break to give your mind time to recover from your workload. Also, think about when you are most productive and plan your day around those peak times.

Don't forget to take breaks.

With long working hours and high-stress levels, burnout is inevitable. To avoid this, you need to draw a clear line between work and home and use the time to take care of yourself and do the things you love. You don't want to slow down when you're in a sprint, but sometimes slowing down a little now can save you from complete exhaustion later. Focus on your long-term goals of being a successful accountant, not how many clients you can serve in a day.

Final word

With these healthier options, you're sure to weather the stress of tax season better than you did last year.

If you have any tax tips that work for you, leave a comment below. We could all use a few more tips on handling the stress of tax season.



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