‘Tis the season. Many of us are working on our taxes, which, depending on your record keeping system, can be a delight for your feline assistants. After all, what’s more fun than diving into a shoebox full of receipts and watching them fly all over the place?

I spoil the fun for Allegra and Ruby by not using a shoebox system. My bookkeeping software, along with a pretty well organized file system, makes tax time about as painless as it can get, but every year, there’s still that moment, when I see my CPA’s number on the caller id, when I have to take a deep breath and brace myself for the bottom line. I have been blessed with a steadily growing business, which, of course, means that every year, I pay a little bit more in taxes.

This time of year, people always complain about having to write a check to the IRS, about how much they have to pay in taxes, and about how everything just keeps getting more and more expensive.  This seems to be the prevailing “story” and it makes for good conversation around the water cooler and in social situations, because it’s something everybody can agree on, right?

I’ve been guilty of participating in those types of conversations, but I really try to avoid that line of thinking, because it is based in lack. I’m not suggesting that simply thinking about having money is going to create money, but I do think it’s beneficial to change how you think and talk talk about taxes, and about money in general.  Thoughts and words carry energy, and that energy impacts how you live your life, as well as the choices you make – choices that extend beyond just financial decisions.

I’ve been trying to change my story and think about money from a place of gratitude, rather than lack. Rather than being angry at the IRS for “taking my hard earned money,” I’m grateful that I have a successful business. Rather than resenting writing that check to the electric company, I’m grateful that they’ve kept me warm all winter long. I know – it’s a leap in consciousness, but shifting how you view money can make a difference.

Ultimately, gratitude is about living in the present moment – something our cats excel at. The energy of gratitude is a powerful force. It can shift your mood and your thoughts from a place of scarcity to a place of abundance and joy.

Gratitude is also a practice. Why not practice gratitude this year as you prepare your taxes?

10 Comments on Taxes, Gratitude and Cats

  1. As a former bookkeeper/ office mgr for a small CPA firm, we would always tell our clients that the reason you have to pay so much is because you’ve earned so much! Would you rather earn less to pay lower taxes? It’s a no -brainer, but it needs to be put into perspective before some people get it. Having more taken out of your paycheck or paying estimated taxes each quarter helps to lessen the sting when filing, and avoids penalties as well. Now penalties are wasted money!

  2. I fully agree, and as a general business practice I never “hide” money I’ve earned so that I don’t have to pay taxes on it and I don’t inflate expenses to dodge taxes. I’m proud of every penny I’ve earned, and I want my business to look healthy and successful.

    And I’ve always been proud to pay my taxes knowing that I’m participating in a system that supports all of us as our needs are presented. Because my business is so complicated, with for-profit and non-profit commercial customers who are or aren’t exempt from sales taxes, long-term and short-term projects, grant-funded projects, merchandise sales, professional dues….it goes on and on, and I’ve been computerized since the 90s when I got my first computer and used Lotus 1-2-3 to write a simple tracking program. I am also grateful for this!

  3. People have such a negative view of taxes. Sure, I’d rather keep all my money and use it as I see fit, but on the other hand, I REALLY wanted someone to come to scrape and salt our road after the snow and ice. Could I have afforded to pay someone to do that for me? Maybe once. Or the road itself: I may need to repave my drive way in a year or two, and checking on prices makes me very grateful I only have to pay for a few yards. Then there are things like public libraries, various inspectors for safety and health, and myriad other services which I need and use but could never afford on my own. This year I keep hearing angry people complaining about the local IRS office, which is so short staffed that they have cut hours and close for lunch. Some of these are the same people who demanded big government cutbacks which meant fewer workers. What’s scarier is that they don’t realize that this also means fewer food inspectors, fewer people at the DMV, and fewer pothole repairs, fewer of a lot of important things that affect our health, standards of living, safety, and security. Sure, my tax dollars also support services I don’t use or policies I may not agree with– but then there are people who don’t think libraries are important, either. I think it evens out in the end. So. . . I look at my taxes as a way to pay for a lot of stuff I could never afford otherwise, and what doesn’t directly help me may help my neighbor. It makes paying taxes a lot less taxing. And no, I’m not a government official or related to one. Please no flames. This is just the way I see things.

      • Thank you, Debi. I appreciate it. There just seems to be this huge disconnect with people between paying taxes and getting services or other aid, especially when they don’t see a direct correlation. I don’t have children in the local schools, but an educated populace provides such enormous benefits to our community and country that I certainly would support money for schools. But some folks feel they need to see a direct and preferably immediate benefit to them personally.

        Didn’t mean to go on so long on this topic! Sorry! But to me it fits in with Ingrid’s writing about connectedness and interrelations between people, animals, and the earth. We need to look out for each other.

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