How You Can Learn to Love Your Tax Bill
Today we are talking about taxes. Don’t go… Taxes can be sexy!
Let me tell you that loving my taxes literally exploded my business. There are some really profound lessons when we look into fear and resentment of taxes.
Listen into today’s episode to start loving taxes and exponentially grow your business!
Firstly, how do you feel when you hear the word: tax?
Maybe you feel neutral – it’s no big deal.
But I know for a lot of people taxes are very scary, whether that’s conscious or unconscious.
Consciously, maybe the idea of paying more tax is terrifying, you feel resentful or like you're going to get into trouble.
If you're unconsciously scared about tax, that’s totally understandable – there’s so much cultural and embedded fear around taxes.
The truth is that taxes are just a straightforward thing that we have to do in business.
When people hit an income plateau, one of the questions I ask, is what's symbolic about this income plateau for you?
Often it's about the higher tax bracket. Entrepreneurs can get super scared about going to the next tax bracket and all the unconscious stuff that brings up.
It's a very primal kind of fear.
So what can you do with that information? Step 1 is to acknowledge it.
Affirm to yourself: it's safe for me to pay taxes.
Step 2 is to forgive. You could do some forgiveness work on the tax office. On your family history and memories.
Step 3 is to reframe taxes as a rite of passage.
Maybe you've never had to pay them before and then suddenly you owe taxes. Think, “As I give this, it's going to come back to me again and again”.
How can you use tax as an anchor, as a reminder that there's always enough and that you live in an abundant world?
In this episode, you'll learn:
- The truth about ancestral tax trauma
- How I overcame the terror of starting my business and doing the paperwork
- My secrets for learning to love your tax bill. Really!
- How to release the fear of taxes to grow your business
- The exact steps you need to take to shift your mindset around taxes.
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Denise: Hey, it's Denise here. Before we go into today's episode, I just want to let all of my Australian friends and listeners to know we are coming up to end our financial year in Australia. I have a special end of financial year workbook and some special bonuses for you as well. Go to denisedt.com/eofy, as in end of financial year, and I've got a lot of cool stuff for you. So let's get to today's episode.
Speaker 2: (Singing)
Denise: Hey gorgeous, it's Denise here and this is Chill and Prosper that you are listening to, and we are talking about taxes today. Oh no, don't turn this off because taxes can be fun. And actually I want to tell you about how loving taxes actually exploded and grew my business. All right, does that float your boat just a little bit more than tax? Tax, tax. Because actually there are some really profound lessons when we look into tax and fear of tax and resentment around tax and all the things. So this can be really juicy and I actually think it's going to... It can grow your business. It really can. So stick with me, it can be fun. But first of all, let's talk about tax for a second. How do you feel about tax when you hear it? Some of you feel neutral and you're just like, "Tax is tax. It is what it is." Some of you're like, "Yep, tax is just a barometer of how well I'm doing in my business and it's totally cool."
If you're an accountant or a bookkeeper, you're like, "Tax is just what I do, and it's numbers, it's no big deal." But, but, but, but, I see a lot of people who taxes for them is consciously or unconsciously very scary. So if it's consciously scary for you, the idea of paying more tax is terrifying, you feel resentment about it, it makes you feel like you're going to get into trouble and you really don't like it. You don't want to pay more tax. If you're unconsciously scared about it, though, there's a big reason for that, because there is so much cultural and embedded fear around taxes. So in America, it's what the IRS, in Australia it's the ATO, I think in the UK it's what HMRC is still... I don't know if it. Her Majesty's Tax... What is it? Something Her Majesty's Tax and Revenue Service, I don't know.
But the point is that nowadays tax offices, it's just a boring thing that we have to do in business, and it's just normal people who are sitting there calculating stuff, government employees, and it's not that big a deal. My mom, her first job out of school was working in the tax office when she was 16 and people would call and say, "I can't pay my tax," and she'd go, "Oh, that's okay. That's fine." And she of push audits away and just stuff like that because she felt bad for people. The other thing, though, is that people get so mad about paying taxes that I have heard that when it comes to sending in physical checks to pay taxes, the tax people have to be very careful when they open stuff, because some people smear yucky stuff on the checks, they write fuck you on the checks and it's... Can you imagine telling people you work for the tax man? It might not be a very... You might love your job if you do, but also people don't really necessarily like it.
Okay, so that's what's happening now around tax. But let's go back 100 years, 200 years, several hundred years, and the tax system was very punitive in lots of ways. So my embedded fear around tax is very much related to the sheriff of Nottingham from Robin Hood and from movies set in that era. So my ancestors came from England, my great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandmother was probably a milk maid or a maid on a whatever. We were always lower class working class people and vegetable sellers and things like that. So very vulnerable situation for women to be in 100 years ago. But when it came to paying taxes, it wasn't as simple as, "Oh great, I'll mail a check to the tax man," or, "Oh, I'll just pay that online, shall I? My quarterly taxes."
It was probably quite a traumatic thing to experience, especially if you were a farmer and there was a drought or a flood and you didn't have the money to pay taxes. Bad stuff could happen to you. Sometimes you could get physically harmed. Your wife could be physically harmed. There's a lot of fear that would've been around for that. And when I think of that era of what the tax man would look like, they depict it in movies almost like death, like wearing black, being pale, coming to collect money, being scary, being like a mafia guy coming around to collect their money. So that fear lives in us a lot. And that's only my experience of having that English background. Can you imagine what experiences are living you and your ancestry around money and unfairness and rent collectors and tax collectors and being indebted to people?
So this still happens in today's world, by the way. There's still slavery in today's world where people have to work off their debts. And I live in Australia where a lot of our first settlers who came and invaded this land were prisoners, were convicts, who hadn't paid their debts, who had stolen money, who were thrown in debtor's jail. So can you imagine there's so much trauma around this concept of tax and it feels horrible, and if you were to really sit and think about it and connect to your ancestry, there's a lot of yuck, a lot of yuck and a lot of trauma.
So of course you're going to feel scared about it. I had this experience when I was a kid where I sat in a welfare office with my mom and she dressed up for the occasion and there was a man sitting there with his ledger and he was asking questions about whether my mom deserved to get welfare or not, even though single parent, two young kids. And I remember just feeling her anxiety around that experience and thinking, "Wow, this person has got their power in their hands for if I can eat or not. That's a traumatic memory. So when I started my business, a lot of that stuff came up and I wasn't aware of the fact that it was a tax thing. I just felt absolute freaking terror around starting my business and doing the paperwork to start my business.
Because when I worked in a job, I didn't have to think about tax. It just got deducted from my paycheck. I just was like, "Oh, whatever." And that can be a bit of a shock when you're first in the workforce, you go, "What? Hang on. How come this is going out?" And they go, "Well, it's for taxes." And you might have had family members who talked very negatively about that. And people will do this on this episode. They'll go, "Taxation is theft." And I go, "Yeah, cool. All right. But it's still there. It's still a reality. Cool." I understand that you don't agree and believe in it, but it is a reality. So when I started my business, I was like, "I'm going to have to pay my own taxes. Oh my God." And actually it's cool when you've got a business, because you can deduct so many things, so it should be more enjoyable paying taxes as an entrepreneur than it is as an employee, but you have to then do it. You have to actually do it.
So I went to visit the Australian Tax Office to register my business because they had this program that you could get a free session with one of their people just to talk about what systems do you need to set up to get your business on the right foot? And it's a great program that the government offers, and yet I was so nervous. So I was terrified in the lead up to it. I dressed up like my mom did at the welfare office and I sat there and my palms were sweaty, my heart was beating really fast, and I got a typical tax man, like what you'd see in an old school movie. He was just a normal guy wearing a suit, just an unassuming guy. And he was like, "Okay, so tell me about your business." And I was like, "So I'm a coach and I help people with their stuff." And I felt like the biggest fraud ever. I felt like, "Oh my God, he's just going to laugh me out of this office."
And he was like, "Oh, okay, cool. So would you consider that as professional services, consulting services?" And I was like, "Yeah, I guess." And he's like, "Cool, well you just need to fill out these forms. And here's a list of things to do best case practice, start a new bank account for your business and keep all your receipts and that's it. And good luck with your business." And I was just going to vomit. I really went out of there just feeling so scared. And that's when I decided to do some money mindset work around the tax man and how this can empower us to make more money and to live within the systems that we're living in, but thrive and prosper and allow ourselves to make more money. So I'll be right back after this quick break, but the second half is going to be about how you can reframe this for yourself to give yourself permission to make more money. I'll see you in a sec, bye.
Dion: Hello, I'm Dion with Pro Coach CEO and I live on Dolphin Island in the Gulf of Mexico, and I'm a law of attraction business coach. Summer of 2020 I read Denise's Get Rich, Lucky Bitch while at my office on the beach. Denise's unapologetic strategies taught me to value my worth, charge accordingly, which helped me to align with my true self, create a bitching business model, and feel like the business savvy CEO of my brand.
Jamie DeMarco: Hi there, I'm Jamie DeMarco, dating and relationship coach and founder of Find Your Fairy Tale, and I love Denise in all of our books. I've binge listened to Chillpreneur, Get Rich, and Lucky V, and honestly they've been totally life and business changing. The Money Manifestation Soundtrack, pure gold. I feel every time I put it on money just tends to magically come to me. I'd recommend all of Denise's books to anyone that wants to live an easier chill life of abundance, love, and prosperity.
Denise: Okay, welcome back. And yes, we're talking about taxes. How exciting, how lovely. But this can be a really big breakthrough for you because you might be realizing from listening to my story about me being sweaty and scared and stressed and how that related to a memory in my life and how it relates to some collective memories that some of us have around movies and TVs and how they've portrayed taxes and maybe ancestry memory too, about how that's impacted your lineage. Hopefully you just go, "Wow, no wonder I feel a bit scared about growing my business." So when I see people who have hit an income plateau, one of the questions I often ask, and this is what we talk about in Money Bootcamp, is what's symbolic about this income plateau for you. And a lot of the time it's a tax bracket thing. People are realizing that they are super scared about going to the next tax bracket and what that could mean for the negative stuff that I talked about.
Like, "I'm going to screw this up. I'm going to get in trouble. I'm going to be more visible. The tax man will notice me." And it's very primal kind of fear. And you might not even be aware of that going, "Oh no, I don't want to go to the next tax bracket. Oh, I don't want to have to register to pay to charge GST or VAT." You might not be consciously aware of it, but there's something there that's saying to you, "Danger, danger, danger. Don't grow your business any further." And the tax thing is just one nuance to that. It's just one thing for us to look at. So what do we do with that information? So yes, of course we acknowledge it. It's safe for me to pay taxes. It's safe for me to do this. You could do some forgiveness work on the tax office. You might have some forgiveness work around real life situations in your life.
Maybe your family went bankrupt. Maybe you got massive fines. Maybe a family member didn't pay their taxes and it's a really super traumatic memory. So you can clear that, you can clear that with forgiveness work. And then how do you switch it to loving taxes? Really interesting. One of my money mentors, Sandy Foster, she said that she used to send her tax checks with love hearts written on them. And it doesn't invalidate the check, funnily enough, but check before you do it. But she would send it with love hearts on it. And she would do the same with all of her bills. And actually one time I did an affiliate promotion for her, so she sent me a thousand dollars check. She sent it to me in a wooden box, and when I opened the box, it had glitter that came out of it. And then she wrote on the back of the check, "This is love money. This money's going to be returned to me a hundred times over," whatever it was. And it was just like, "Oh, this is so cool." And the bank took the check just the same.
But it's just that feeling of how do you use things like this as an anchor, as a reminder that there's always enough and that you're abundant and you live in an abundant world. So you could reframe taxes to be like a rite of passage because maybe you've never had to pay them before. You've never had to pay them before you've always gotten a refund, and then suddenly you owe taxes. So it could be you see that as a rite of passage. And as I give back, as I give this, it's going to come back to me again and again. A really amazing thing that I started doing as well is I started working with an accountant who had... We'd have quarterly meetings, and they would say, "Well, this is your tax. This is your tax position."
Because when I see people and they go, "Oh my God, I got an unexpected tax bill," I go, "No, it shouldn't be unexpected." It's safe for you to look at your money. It's safe for you to look at what you owe. It's safe for you to hold that money back and not spend it. It's safe for you to trust that you can handle a little bit more paperwork or a little bit more complexity or a little bit more official stuff. So I wouldn't say I'm super organized or great with money all the time, but those quarterly sessions with my accountant, they cost me about $250, an hour of his time. We talk about it and it keeps me on track and I go, "Okay, I know that's how much tax I've got to pay." And then it's not a surprise. It changes a little bit sometimes for sure when it all washes out, but he keeps me up to date of what my tax position is, and then it doesn't have to be scary. You're allowed to look at it. It's totally okay.
Now this last bit is a total rant. Get ready for the rant. So I am really proud that I pay tax because as a kid my family got welfare. We had a government house that has subsidized rent. My mom got welfare, single parent welfare. We got school vouchers at the start of the year to get brand new school shoes. We went to public schools. I could defer my university fees with a government school loan. It's called Hex. And I got OzStudy, so that was a subsidy from the government for low income kids to go to university, and it paid for a bit of my rent. It helped me go to university. I still had to work heaps, but I was the first person in my family to go to university. So when I look at what government spending has helped me do, it has made incredibly passionate about changing things and creating fairness and equality in the world, and realizing that not every company feels this way.
So corporation tax in Australia is about 26%. So I pay 26% on my profits. That means that every year... My business income is, say, four million on average every year, and I don't know what the profit is on that, two million sometimes, but we usually pay between 600 and 800,000 a year in tax. That's a lot of money, but the only reason I can say that now, and it be like, "Oh, that is what it is," is because I had to do that work at the very start of my business when I had to pay $300 and I sweated over it and I felt terrible about it and I wanted to vomit. So I was acclimatizing myself to feeling good about paying those small amounts so I could feel good about paying that $800 a year, which I pay quarterly. And I also pay a little bit each month, just so it's not a big surprise.
And you know what, I... So that 26% company tax, it's a smart way to structure your business. I don't pay it with... I pay myself a salary, but I pay myself a tax efficient salary. So I actually pay more tax than Netflix does in Australia. So their revenue is, I don't even know, but call it a billion dollars. I don't even know. Even if it was hundreds of millions of dollars, I pay more tax in real income figures than Netflix does. A global multinational company. And there's part of me that goes, "Wow, that sucks." But there's part of me that's like, "You know what? I'm a fucking boss paying my fair share and not..." Like, yeah, of course I deduct stuff. Of course I'm smart about it. But do you know how boss that feels just to go... I show up and I'm the one paying for kids to get new school shoes every year. I'm the one who contributes to other kids like me going to university for the first time, and single parents being able to feed their kids.
That is so empowering. It's so empowering. And if you can turn that resentment out and use your voice, though. So I talk about this all the time. I talk about this on Twitter all the time. I share my tax returns. I call out companies, I tag them and say, "Hey, how come you guys aren't paying tax?" So there was an article about tax paid in 2020 for companies in Australia. Virgin paid nothing. Nothing. Not a cent. Obviously they paid payroll taxes, but they paid nothing. And their revenue was in the billions. Chevron, nothing. Vodafone, nothing. Whitehaven Coal, nothing. Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp, nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing. So I can choose to be angry about that, or I can choose to make my money because I'm not scared about paying tax, I'm not scared about paying that money. I'm following the rules. I have so much pride that investment that the government put in me as a kid, as a young, single parent kid, I am super proud that was the best investment they've ever made.
I want the government to invest more in kids like me. So it's shit that companies don't pay tax. It's horrible that they don't. And I am not going to waste a second feeling bad about that. I'm going to use my money for good. And you know what? I'm using my vote for good. I'm making sure that I vote in governments that believe in taxes, that I help lobby for laws that change loopholes. Because imagine if every company just paid their fair share of tax. So don't stress about it, don't spend any energy or resentment about it. It's safe for you to pay taxes because it is hard for people to break the cycle and your money goes to paying good roads, teachers. I want teachers to be paid well. I want public schools to be funded. I want good roads. I want public libraries. I want governments to do universal basic income. I want people to be taken care of. I want Medicare and universal healthcare.
And that means making money paying taxes, and how freaking boss are we that we do that. So I hope this has changed your mindset a little bit about paying tax. I hope it's given you permission to go and maybe register your business or register for that next level. Hire a bookkeeper, hire an accountant to take care of your money and make more of it, because together we can use that money to change the world. Ah, peace out. No, I've got one final thought for you straight after this break. I'll see you in a sec.
Ashley Caps: Hi everyone. My name is Ashley Caps and I live in Dustin, Florida where I work as a mental health therapist at my own private practice. I came across Get Rich, Lucky Bitch, because actually a client recommended it to me and I am so glad that she did. The two things that really stood out to me in this book were one, upgrading my life, which was starting to make small changes to really show the universe that I was ready to accept the abundance that was waiting for me. And two, raising my prices. I started my business about two years ago, and since then I have been terrified to raise my prices, but based on Denise's guidance, I did it anyway, and I have been shocked to see the results.
Not only have I not lost customers, but I've actually gained more of the kind of customers I'm really looking for and established myself as a valuable therapist with the education and expertise that is worth paying top dollar for. I can honestly say that Denise's book has changed my life and not just the way I handle my money, but also how I present myself as a businesswoman. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to establish a better relationship with money and increase their income.
Denise: Hey, gorgeous. It's Denise here for the final thought of the day, and this one is about taking time off. And I always laugh about this because I love my business so much that sometimes I'm like, "Why would you want to take holidays from it?" And even on holidays I'll read business books sometimes, but it's really about creating that space for you in whatever way feels good for you, taking time off. You don't have to go on a two week holiday if you don't want to. A spaciousness and abundance for you around this might be taking a weekday off. Every Thursday I go to the movies with one of my friends and that feels good. Mondays I don't schedule any calls or any appointments. That's my day to run errands and go to the chiro and things that.
So I used to beat myself up over it that I wasn't a holiday person. That I couldn't sit on the beach for a couple of days. And now I realize that is so personal too. And it could be that you just need to set some more boundaries around your time and that's going to feel luxurious. Maybe you don't do any calls after 6:00 PM. Maybe you don't do anything before a certain time in the morning. Maybe you batch up things so you can just take a whole day off to do nothing. And how can you create that spaciousness in your life? I even set up my calendar so no one can book more than three spots... I can't even speak. Three spots in a day, so I know that I'm not just going to say yes. My system does it for me.
So it's safe for you to take time off. It's safe for you to choose how you take time off. It's safe for you to create spaciousness. It's safe for you to not work on weekends, if that's your next thing. And it's safe for you to design how that works for you. So I want you to ponder on that over the next couple of days is what would feel good for you in taking time off and what could create that spaciousness? All right, so have a great week. I hope you could create that in your week, and I will see you next week for another episode of Chill and Prosper. Bye.
Speaker 2: (Singing)
Denise: Hey, thanks for listening, and for all of my Aussie listeners, don't forget, I've got a special end of financial year workbook for you and some cool bonuses as well. Just go to denisedt.com/eofy, as in end of financial year, and you've got lots of goodies there, so you can finish the year off with a bang. All right, see you next time.
About the Show
Chill and Prosper is your weekly dose of money mindset, marketing and humour from best-selling author and entrepreneur Denise Duffield-Thomas.
Denise's philosophy is that there is ALWAYS an easier way to make money and that's what she's here to help you do. Each week, you'll get actionable advice to help you make more money, with less work. There's no need to hustle - let Denise show you how to embrace the Chillpreneur way.
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