Romance & Money
Dealing With Your First Joint Tax Season
Stop complaining about taxes
Caroline in Sacramento, Calif.:
"When my husband of two years and I try to do our taxes together, he
complains about everything as if taxes were a physical wound. I tried to tell
him for the last few years that if heâ€™d just keep things a bit more organized
all year long, tax time wouldnâ€™t be so traumatic. He then criticizes me for my
organized bookkeeping and the ease with which I approach tax season. (Let me
just say that we both work in the same commission-paid career and make
approximately the same amount of money.)
His comments hurt me because Iâ€™m trying to help. It can take me days to get
over these comments. He says itâ€™s just part of his "tax mood," and that I
should get used to it since itâ€™s only once a year. (Once a year for
thirty-days!) I should add that every year, by June, heâ€™s back to being himself:
But I still think heâ€™s a tax time bully and takes his frustration out on me. I
get angrier with him each year. Iâ€™m getting worried about how this might affect
our relationship in the long run.
Caroline, congratulations on your organizational skills; Iâ€™m still working on
I know people like your husband, and all I can say to that is heâ€™s dug himself a
deep hole. By criticizing you and refusing your help and guidance, heâ€™s
making it deeper.
"The first rule of holes: When you are in one, stop digging."
Harsh words are not easily wiped away by gentle behavior after the fact. Becoming a considerate friend/spouse year round would go much
further in ensuring your marriage stays a happy one. It takes wisdom to learn
"Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain-and most fools do."
Your husband needs to stop complaining about tax time and ask himself some hard
Why is he unprepared for an event that happens every year?
Why does he resent your advice when itâ€™s clear you have tackled the issue
(You may also want to take a look at how you are offering the advice; is your
tone critical or sarcastic?)
Does this lack of preparedness permeate other areas of his life, like bill
If it does, then he would improve the situation greatly by implementing some
time management skills. There are hundreds of time management
books and tapes on the market. If time management is the problem, then it can be
altered like any other problem, one day at a time.
These three Tax-Time Management Tips will help alleviate some of the stress of
JUMP START your tax preparation time by starting in November. Set aside one hour
a month to begin the preparation of your taxes by gathering the information you
SAVE RECEIPTS in separate files all year long. Label the files: office supplies,
lunches, medical, mortgage, etc. At the end of the year, all you have to
do is add them up, or add them into your accounting/booking software at least
every 60 days all year long.
BUSINESS EXPENSES: use credit cards that you pay off monthly, and that send you
an annual itemized report of your spending. At the end of the year, itâ€™s handy
to have and saves hours of calculating what, when, and where you spent money.
Another good investment can be personal/business finance management software.
If your husbandâ€™s problem comes only at tax time and is related only to paying
taxes, then he needs to figure out why he resents taxes so much that he becomes
angry and takes it out on you. That is not OK. We all have to pay our share into
a system from which we benefit, whether or not we always agree with it. He is not
alone in his frustrations. However, we do not all turn around and argue with our
spouses because of it.
I think you are wise to worry what kind of damage this annual stress and resentment
may cause to your marriage long term if it is not addressed satisfactorily.
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