The Reason You Procrastinate When it Comes to Tax Time
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” This advice has largely been ignored for the last three hundred or so years since Franklin (‘Benny F’ to his friends) said the words. But why? Why do we constantly put things off when we could just buckle down and get them done? Procrastination is an unproductive plague upon mankind. Unfortunately, we’re all guilty of it — each and every Kelowna accounting firm can attest to this. And the last thing you want to be procrastinating about, particularly at this time of year, is filing your taxes.
Strangely enough, there’s actually some scientific reasoning behind why we all procrastinate so much. What it comes down to is an internal biological war between your limbic system and your prefrontal cortex.
The limbic system is one of the oldest and most dominant parts of the brain. It’s the part responsible for automatic responses such as taking your hand away from a hot flame, or simply fleeing something unpleasant. The limbic system demands immediate mood repair and can in turn make you avoid certain situations (like working on your taxes) and opt for something that will make you happy.
The prefrontal cortex is still a relatively new part of your brain and it’s responsible for decision-making. Unlike the limbic system, the prefrontal cortex doesn’t run on autopilot; it’s something you have to kick into gear yourself. As soon as you fail to be engaged in a task, your prefrontal cortex checks out, the limbic system takes over, and you find yourself procrastinating.
Science for the win!
In 2015, during the last week of April, the CRA reported that over half of Canadians had yet to file their tax returns. Half! Sure, as a business you have until June 15th, but the clock is ticking! By procrastinating on filing your taxes you’re leaving yourself open to potential penalties, interest, and missed benefits to you and your business. You’re tempting the CRA audit crew to unpack their microscopes and (quite literally) get ‘all up in your business’.
The best way to make sure you don’t miss out on opportunities and avoid penalties is to kick your limbic system to the curb for a little while, engage that powerful prefrontal cortex, and get to work on organizing your financial records so you’re ready to file your taxes.
At Kindret Business Solutions, we realize it’s simply not just a matter of saying, “okay, today’s the day.” Let’s face it, your own biological system is working against you. This procrastination factor is just one of the reasons why people have a bookkeeper. As trained financial professionals, our prefrontal cortex is ridiculously powerful (we workout), and it’s our job to make sure all your financial records are up to date and that your taxes are ready to be filed in plenty of time of the due date.