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When the dreaded brown HMRC envelope plops onto the mat, negative connotations almost always accompany it. But what if you could reframe your mindset and see paying tax as a positive thing? For such a small word, ‘tax’ carries such scary implications, and yet in reality, it can give you the power to do good.
The Fear is Real
Panic would grip me during my days in debt at the mere thought of that little brown envelope falling through my letterbox, landing with a resolute slap on the floor. Knowing that envelope held a letter from the tax department demanding a huge sum that I basically couldn’t afford. Even now, I can still feel that fear of not being in control.
Not knowing what the future held. Whether I could afford to live, and if I’d find myself out on the street. When you say these things out loud, you realise how irrational they sound, but this way of thinking can really stop us from taking control of our finances and switching to a mindset that promotes building wealth.
Subconscious Beliefs are Holding You Back
If you subconsciously believe that receiving a tax bill is a bad thing, it’s going to keep you stuck. Why on earth would you want to earn more money, make more money or ask people for money, if at the end of it, you’re going to have to pay tax? Your subconscious is holding you back from reaching your full potential. All because you don’t want to have to deal with a tax bill after making a well-deserved, hard-earned income at the end of the year.
By believing that paying tax is a bad thing, we are keeping ourselves small. Which is why I want to talk about how our thoughts lead our behaviours. This is something that is often talked about in CBT, or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. It’s a great tool that health professionals use to help a patient through a period of depression or anxiety.
The idea around CBT is to examine your thoughts and your feelings, and how they shape your behaviour and actions.
Simply put, if your underlying thoughts deem tax as something bad, feelings of discomfort will accompany those thoughts. In turn, these uncomfortable feelings lead to potentially damaging behaviours. Like avoidance, not pushing sales, or not asking for money.
Is Debt Your “Security Blanket?”
Actually, the subject of tax isn’t the only area where you might be stuck in this kind of thinking. There are lots of other situations where we might self-sabotage when it comes to money, such as being in debt.
You might say, “well, being in debt, it’s not my fault.”
And truthfully, being in debt can come from not feeling worthy enough to deserve money. To not feel worthy enough to step into the light. We don’t want to be “too big for our boots” and worry about potential humiliation and losing the money we’ve earned. If we did achieve wealth, we believe we’d only lose it anyway, so what’s the point?
Debt is like a security blanket; it’s a way of keeping ourselves safe. Now, this might sound counterintuitive — you might be screaming at me right now, saying, “I wouldn’t want to be in debt! Why are you saying that I should be in debt?!” Of course, I’m not saying that at all. But, actually, being in debt often comes from wanting to protect ourselves. To protect ourselves from stepping out and being the person that we’re always meant to be.
It could also be a sign of plugging a hole that comes from a lack of something. Perhaps a lack of care and attention from caregivers as we were growing up. Lack of feeling good enough, in comparison to everyone else. All of this demonstrates how our subconscious feelings — and subsequently, our mindset — lead to our behaviours and actions. And thinking about tax in a negative way is a part of that.
Reframe Your Thoughts
Have a go at reframing the question.
How do you feel about tax?
If you are one of these people (like I was) who hate “tax”, are frightened by it, don’t like the idea of talking to HMRC about it, or just worry about doing your tax return every single year; do something different. Start to think about tax in a good way. View it in a positive light. How would you feel if you suddenly found that paying tax was a delight? If you discovered that paying tax could be a good thing?
What is Tax For, After All?
Begin by thinking about the purpose of paying income tax to the government, like what it does for others. For now, let’s put aside any feelings you may have about how the government manages the money it collects. Because, fundamentally, your tax money is helping others.
You’re Doing Good in The World
The money you pay to HMRC is helping those that need money in the form of disability benefit or help with housing. It could be helping someone with a health condition, or a struggling single parent. That money might also be used to provide aid overseas following a natural disaster, or to help with struggles of a different nature in another country.
At home, this money ensures that our transport runs well, and that our country is defended. Paying tax enables our children to be educated and provides funding for the NHS. By paying our taxes, we’re keeping our communities safe and clean. Now imagine an opposite scenario. If we weren’t paying our dues, there’d be no money for any of these services. Imagine how awful society would be.
Paying tax is a sign that you are doing well in life. If you’re paying tax, you are earning enough money to be able to do so. Okay, so you might begrudge how much tax you’re paying, but I’ll come to that in a second. As long as you are paying something, you are doing well in life.
Celebrate that fact, and use a mantra to anchor this in, too. In our Female Money Doctor community, The Abundance Clinic, we threw some ideas around and came up with phrases like “wealthy women pay their taxes” and “more money = more tax = more wealth”, or “my tax money helps others”.
What phrases could you use to anchor this in? Write your mantra on a Post-it®️ and stick it somewhere to remind yourself of how your tax money is helping others.
Tax Savings and Paying What’s Necessary
We’re frequently told — by our accountants especially — that we should be trying to save tax wherever possible. If this seems like it’s going against what I’ve just been saying about loving tax, it’s not. We only need to pay what we’re expected to pay, and no more.
If you’re earning good money, it’s only fair that you shouldn’t have to pay more than is due. You’re not evading tax (which is illegal!), you’re just not paying more than you should. If you run your own business, there are lots of ways that you can save, while still contributing exactly what you owe. A good accountant will be able to help you with this.
Keep a Tax Savings Pot
From now on, I recommend you set up a tax ‘pot’, ready to go. If you are self-employed, you’ll need some tax savings set aside in a separate account, ready to pay your tax bill. Don’t leave it to chance. Starling bank has a great article to tell you more about how much to set aside. It’ll be different for your business and personal taxes, so make sure you save for both! And be happy about paying that tax bill, because it’s healthy. It shows that you are earning money, that you are doing well.
As the phrase goes, the only certain things in life are death and taxes. It’s one of those unavoidable parts of life. So, reframe your thoughts, and feel better about paying tax. Don’t get caught up in feelings, behaviours, actions and the downward spiral that keeps you small when it comes to money.
I’d love to know your views and see you reframe your opinion on paying tax. Come and join our Facebook group, and join the discussion.
And, if you want to take the next step in managing your money, come and join us in the Abundance Clinic, my private members club packed full of awesome content and tools to help you feel more in control of your finances. You can get access now to everything for just $1 for 30 days. It’s an incredible offer and it won’t be around forever, so take advantage while you can!
Bye for now,
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