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Tax Season 101

4 Steps to Filing Your Taxes

Stop procrastinating! Start with these tips for taking on your dreaded tax return.

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This article originally appeared on LearnVest.com.

Albert Einstein lamented that “the hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” Though taxes are complex and tedious, the number one reason we dread April 15th is simple: Nobody likes to pay tax.

Here’s how to get over procrastination and take the sting out of doing taxes:

Step 1: Put emotions aside. When we’re stressed out or on high alert, it is much harder for our brains to weigh options, predict consequences, and solve complex problems. No matter how good you are at multi-tasking, it’ll be much harder to think clearly when your brain is engaged in a negative emotional process. Take a deep breath and tell yourself, “This feeling is not helping me. I need to be calm in order to accomplish this task/solve this problem.”

Step 2: Limit conjecture. In clinical terms, this is called “forecasting negative events” or even “catastrophizing.” Abstract fears are impossible to tame because we can’t possibly resolve them. Try to nix the “what if” factor. Tell yourself that you’ll cross each bridge as you come to it.

 
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