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The Stress of Tax Debt: MIT Study Indicates Stress Can Lead to Risky Decisions

A new MIT study recently confirmed what many of us probably know, but don’t slow our brains down to recognize – that chronic stress, stress that is present over time, can lead to poor decision making.

Oftentimes I speak to prospective clients that have difficulty seeing their way out of IRS tax debt. They are either unsure of how to proceed or are looking for a “silver bullet” to end their tax problems. Like the mice in the study, they are far likelier to choose “high risk, high reward” payoff options. They think “I’ll qualify for a settlement” without fully understanding what it takes to have an Offer in Compromise accepted, or tell themselves “My business just needs this next big contract and I’ll pay off my debt in full”.

When they receive an IRS notice, instead of thinking about the problem in a straightforward, businesslike fashion, they immediately have an emotional or even physical response. I’ve spoken with clients who have told me their blood pressure will spike, their breathing will shorten and they’ll feel a tightness in their chest when they see those three letters in the corner of an envelope. Indeed, these are symptoms similar to a panic attack.

One of the main benefits of choosing professional tax representation like Boxelder Consulting is that you have an experienced, licensed, objective view of your tax problem. Right away, we take this problem off your hands by filing a Power of Attorney. I hear from our clients on a frequent basis that just the simple act of that first phone call lifted their burden.

The second step is for us to provide a resolution strategy that is both comprehensive and objective – meaning that the strategy we put in place won’t be a “quick fix”. We will consider the future as well as the past problem and we’ll consider the issue with a clear, evenhanded and most importantly unemotional response.

If anything I covered above hits home for you, please, please call us right now. We are on call 24/7 and ready to help. Think straight – when a problem gets out of hand, reach out for experienced, licensed and understanding professionals.


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