5 Stages of griefSo it’s tax season.

Well. Kind of. For us self-employed folk (at least in Canada), we technically have until the middle of June to file (although if you owe tax it’s due on April 30th… and I definitely owe tax).

But this is the season when everyone begins to talk about taxes.

And so, inevitably, I start thinking about maybe getting started…

Every year I aim to be done earlier… and well, every year it ends up being the same story; I sneak in just before the deadline.

It’s amazing how, with the sorting of the very first receipt, I’m right back in the pattern I left a year ago, the whole ‘tax ritual’ comes back to me…

So in honour of kicking off tax season, I present to you, my 5 stages of dealing with Tax Grief:


Denial

It always starts the same way.  DENIAL!

Actually, for the longest time it starts without actually starting.  In fact, you could probably add a stage. Stage 0.5: avoid it as long as possible.

But once I stop the procrastinating, I finally get to step 1: sorting through my mess of receipts (and it is a mess…). But no matter the size of the pile, my brain doesn’t quite comprehend the task at hand…

“This isn’t so bad… it’s actually kind of fun.” It says.

The irony is that without the help of sweet sweet denial I don’t think I’d ever get started. If I actually remembered what I would become by the end of the process…

The first hour of sorting receipts is all: awww… remember when I was in Montreal on that audition and I ate that pear. Or: that’s from that super hipster pub we found in Medicine Hat.

I send pictures of receipts to my girlfriend, waxing all romantic-like about the year we’ve had. It’s like a weirdo scrapbook.

Taxes aren’t that bad, this year it’s going to be different. It’s going to be a breeze.

And then… it gets less fun.


Anger

I hate this.

There are so many receipts. And it takes forever.

Why do I not do this every month? Why do I just stick them into a box and leave them there… EVERY FREAKING YEAR???

NOW DO YOU REMEMBER LAST YEAR???

Why are all my receipts in a GIANT PILE with random scrawls about where they came from?

Also… what is up with receipts?? Wad them up in a pile for a few months, and you can’t read them at all. Why is such an important record made with such flimsy ink? Why doesn’t the government make businesses get their shit together.

… Why doesn’t the government make me get my shit together.

It’s definitely the government’s fault. And my parents’ fault. And… um… Justin Bieber’s fault… maybe…

Probably. Stupid Bieber…

Ughhhhhhhhh


Bargaining

Maybe I can just get the numbers from my bank statements… I’m sure the receipts are in this pile somewhere…

Plus… what are the chances that I’m going to get audited… right? I don’t make much…. They should be busy going after the billionaires…?

Maybe they won’t even notice that I didn’t file.

Also… um…

Is this even a business expense … or is it not? Technically I was heading back from a gig, but I was at home, and heading away to see a friend… so was I finishing a business trip, or was I starting a vacation?

I’m sure that auditors (even though it would never happen) would understand that it’s essential for me to go out drinking after gigs…. Since they all definitely have a strong understanding of the self-employed world, and especially an artist’s life.

I should probably just go watch Netflix. I deserve a break.


Depression

Wait.

I have to pay how much?

How is that possible?

What is that even for?

I can’t do this.

*Turns on Netflix… weeks pass…*


Acceptance

Ah yes. Sweet acceptance. I can pinpoint the exact moment that it will take place.

Right around April 25th. 5 days from when self-employed taxes start accumulating interest.

This is not my first time at the rodeo.

It’s that day that I sit down, after carefully avoiding eye contact with my pile of receipts that I started weeks ago, and get it done.

Because it has to be done. No matter how much I whine and complain (and I will… mark my words… I will).


So, in honour of me starting in on this cycle, this week we’re going to talk taxes. And maybe a few of you will do what I’ve never manage to accomplish…

Break out of the tax-grief cycle… once and for all.


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