Think about what you think about

Published 7:10 am Wednesday, January 17, 2024

By Jan Penton-Miller

Well, I’ve been putting off a chore that rolls around more frequently than I would like. Tax time looms on the horizon. Once the first of the year comes and goes it seems only a minute until April 15th, and Mike and I are trying to get all our ducks in a row earlier than we usually do.   

My daughter, Melinda, has a small business in Tennessee so she has a little paperwork to do also. When we were talking this morning she said, “Mom, I just get my expenses and things together and take them to my tax preparer. It’s really not that big of a thing.”

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I mulled her words over in my head. Why does this loom larger than it should for me each year? She is absolutely correct, It really isn’t a big deal. All the things that should have been filed away so that tax season would be little more than an inconvenience are not always where they should be. I usually find everything filed away correctly, but occasionally I have to go in search of a document or two. That isn’t the problem, though.

One year I was audited and although everything turned out in my favor I never want to go through that process again. I had to prove the thing they were questioning, and I was able to back up my return with the help of my tax preparer. Even though this happened a few years back I still have that memory associated with tax season and never look forward to it.   

The funny thing is that I absolutely knew my return was correct. I think back to the time, and it was very obvious they were trying hard to find a mistake. I had to back up what I had claimed not only one way, but with two documents. I guess because I had heard horror stories about dealing with the IRS I was intimidated, but why in the world would I let this one event shape every tax season?

Simple answer-I shouldn’t. Will this column cause me to love tax season since I’ve thought this through and put it on paper? Probably not, but I do feel better. Writing can be cathartic, and always has been for me. Now I’ll  be able to tackle this chore with a much better attitude than I had before.

This reminds me of something I have heard from a Christian speaker. She encourages her listeners to think about what they are thinking about. Is it positive? Is it true? Does it lift your spirits or bring you down? A change of your thoughts can help in many ways. It’s hard to have a positive attitude with negative thoughts running through your head.

That is totally good advice for me today. Instead of thinking about the one time I had to go through an audit I’ll focus on all the times I got a refund! Now that changes everything!