How Was My Tax Season? It Sucked, Thanks for Asking

Image courtesy of user Geralt on
Image courtesy of user Geralt on

It’s the first week of May and I’m finally getting around to writing my annual tax season recap. That should tell you how my tax season went.

Oprah Crap

A few years ago, I included a personal anecdote in a blog post, and someone wrote to me saying I should “lose the Oprah crap” because they didn’t care about my personal anecdotes. Ever since, I’ve issued “Oprah Crap Warnings” in posts where I use personal anecdotes.

So consider yourself warned.

(Oprah Crap commences now)

Last year, I had a salivary gland removed from my mouth during the middle of tax season. I jokingly said at the time that I hoped I wouldn’t be able to top that in 2016.


Back in October, I began to have nausea after eating, as well as weird pain and tenderness in my upper abdomen.

Doctors, as they so often do, at first looked at me like I was crazy, patted me on my head and sent me on my way.

By late December, I still wasn’t any better. So they tested my gall bladder. The test showed it wasn’t functioning properly, so it was removed in early January. I was told this would fix all my problems.

It didn’t.

In fact, things got worse after my gall bladder was removed.

There were days during tax season when I would work for 5 minutes, and then spend the next 5 minutes just sitting at my desk with my head in my hands, because I was so nauseated and in so much pain.

Even drinking water caused extreme nausea.

What’s bizarre is, I had CT scans which showed nothing was wrong.

I had cameras stuck down my throat and into my stomach which showed nothing was wrong.

Vial after vial of blood was drawn to be tested. Literally dozens of vials of blood. All of which came back perfectly normal.

Finally I was sent to the University of Iowa to be checked out by research doctors. Mind you, this is all happening during tax season.

The doctors at U of I figured out what’s wrong with me. I have a nerve disorder, possibly caused by a spinal problem I’ve been having. Something has “riled up” the nerves going into my abdomen. The organs themselves are perfectly fine. But the nerves are not.

The way I describe it is like this. It’s like when you turn on your TV and the volume is unexpectedly cranked all the way up. Normal people turn the volume down right away.

When normal people have something that riles up their stomach, they quickly recover and move on with life.

But in my case, I can’t find the remote and so the volume on the TV remains cranked up while I fumble around trying  and failing to find the volume buttons hidden on the side of the TV.

I’ve found physical therapy to be extremely beneficial. As long as I keep up with my PT, I have days where I feel almost 100% now. When I don’t keep up with PT, I feel the nerve pain building back up.

None of this got figured out til early April, and I finally started PT in early April as well.

So yeah. It was a challenging tax season.

(Oprah Crap ends here)

I Feel Like One of Those Annoying Construction Contractors

So with the nerve pain issue out in the open, here’s how I feel tax season went for me.

Things were fine as far as dealing with the law, dealing with software, etc. I have read other tax pros talk about what a “nightmare” the ACA was, but I haven’t seen those nightmare scenarios. This part of tax season was fine.

But I’ve grown to a point where I can’t manage it all myself anymore. I was hopelessly drowning under work during tax season — and it hasn’t gotten any better over the last 2 weeks.

Maybe it was because I felt miserable most of the season. Or maybe I just have too many clients.

But here’s how I feel tax season went.

I feel like I’m one of those construction contractors who gives wildly inaccurate timelines.

“I’ll start on your kitchen remodel next week, and it’ll take 3 weeks to finish.”

Six weeks later, he finally shows up to start working, and the project takes 12 weeks to finish.

That’s how I feel tax season went, and why it’s so fitting that my tax season recap is being published two weeks late.

There were more confrontations than ever, some quite heated, with clients.

Again, maybe it’s because I felt miserable and wasn’t in the mood to listen to people piss and moan that it “took too long” to finish their return (when I’d only had it in my possession for a few days) or listen to people piss and moan about how I should move their tax return to the top of the pile because they were planning a trip to Mexico and needed their refund ASAP. I wasn’t in the mood to listen to it, and people learned that very quickly when they tried to test me.

But it’s also true that I was slow to get things done. Slow to reply to emails. Slow to return phone calls.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t feel good.

Maybe I just have too many clients.

Maybe I don’t know how to effectively run a business.

I don’t know. But it was a rough season.