Sunday, 16 April 2017

Marriage and Taxes

This picture says it all:

Today is Easter Sunday, and we spent it doing our taxes. *sigh* they had to be done... again. Neither Rob nor myself enjoys it - often there is a minimum of 1 argument per tax season. That's because we each have our own way of doing things - I like to collect all our T4 slips and deduction slips into a labelled file folder. And Rob likes to lay everything out on a table while we get the slips coming in the mail. And that's one of the minor things!

Anyway, I love my husband dearly and wouldn't trade him for anything. It's just that if a marriage can already withstand in-laws, day-to-finances, (child rearing for some couples but not us), and religious differences - then surviving taxes is a whole different story! It's because this is a stressful time, when we know we're both accountable to the federal government (gasp!) and if one of us makes a minor mistake, we both go to prison or pay the huge fine :( It's a time when we're not only accountable to the government, but also to each other.

So, being that Rob & I have survived approximately 9 tax seasons together (including an explosive fight that nearly ended 'us' a few years ago - we talked it out and fixed it), we're sharing some advice to couples who are new to this 'tax together' thing.

  1. This is a time to show your spouse a lot of respect. They are human just like you, probably as nervous (about fines and jail time for tax errors) as you are, and belittling them can actually cause a mistake to happen!
  2. Put away distractions. This cannot be emphasized enough. When your brain is trying to focus under pressure, the last thing you should be doing is noticing external stimuli. So close those curtains, put away (or turn off!) your cell phones, and keep the TV and radio off. At least until your done. If you find classical music helps you concentrate then that's cool.
  3. If you're feeling like this whole thing is really getting on your nerves - it's okay to take a break. Most people don't do their entire taxes all in one sitting anyway. The beauty of using digital tax software is that you can stop for awhile and come back to it where you left off.
  4. It may be helpful, before doing the real thing (actually filing!) to do a practice run or 2, and write out everything financial! There is no 'good time' to hide your financial situation from your spouse. Your finances are shared now, so there's no more secrets.
  5. Double check each other's numbers. So if your spouse enters their income (and deductions) from their employment forms, etc. Agree to look it over for them (2 pairs of eyes are better than 1 as Rob says). And let them look at yours too. Remember - don't get mad over minor mistakes, they're only human!
  6. It might also be helpful to openly discuss your fears. Instead of saying to your spouse: "If you mess this up, we're going to jail and I won't forgive you!" Simply admit "I am worried if it looks like we're hiding even a small amount from the federal government, they may send us to jail for fraud." Trust us, the second use of words will get a better reception.
  7. And last but not least, celebrate! When your taxes are finally done, even if you owe money or break even... just the fact that you got through this stressful time with your spouse is worth a drink of wine or a nice walk, meal out, movie night, etc.

Well, Rob & I wish you guys a great Easter evening and hope it was lovely. Feel free to comment below this post and let us know what you did! (✿◠‿◠)

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