Monday, April 12, 2010

IRS Day. Statute of Limitations OR the “get out of a jail free” card.

If you are like most Americans, this Thursday (April 15th) will be your Federal Individual Tax Return deadline. For the majority of individuals in America, April 15th looms large over our heads like the sword of Damocles, bringing abject fear to some or just mild frustration to others. Regardless which camp you are in, you are usually glad to see April 16.

Today, I don’t want to talk about how we should feel about April 15, 2010 with respect to our 2009 Tax filing, but instead how we should feel about April 15, 2010 with respect to our 2006 Tax filing. And the word that comes to mind is ABSOLUTION.

For the vast majority of us who filed our 2006 Federal Income Tax Return by April 15, 2007, this Thursday, will be the end of the statute of limitations for the items in that return. How exciting is that?! (Let’s not get so far down the rabbit hole that we discuss the oddities like carry-overs, or in the case of fraud, etc. We will stick to the most relevant stuff!) The end of the statute of limitations means if we goofed, we don’t have to worry about the IRS coming back to refigure our taxes for 2006 and prior. Collective sigh of relief!

If the Federal Government, the IRS no less, is willing to only look back three years into our financial business…why do we carry around so much of our personal failings, personal grudges and negative-group-think many years, many life times into the future? What is the statute of ABSOLUTION on our perceived failings? Three years? Thirty years? Never?

The caveat for the three year statute of limitations to work with our taxes is that you must actually file your tax return. If you have never filed the return, the three year time limit doesn’t start…so it never ends.

This really is no different for our personal issues. If we don’t look at the issue and start the process to forgive ourselves, to change our energy or our focus, then the festering never has a chance to heal. Even if your initial attempt to heal / change / forgive yourself isn’t perfect, think of it as your “first offer”. You can always update or “amend” it as new information comes in.

I can beat myself up about wrong doings as much as the next human, but I am going to set my intentions to no longer flagellate myself for more than three years!! I know, I know, we shouldn’t even let it go that long, especially if we have learned from the lesson. But, if nothing else seems to work in order to forgive ourselves, let us at least be as compassionate with ourselves as the IRS is.