Breakthrough Solutions

for Attention Deficit Disorder Adults

Bonnie Mincu

Senior Certified ADHD Coach

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Inevitably around this time of year I am reminded of a personal marathon weekend coming up shortly.  It's the weekend when I'll have to spend mega-hours preparing my taxes to send figures to my accountant.

My accountant makes a point of asking me when he can expect my information around November or December, so I enter a weekend — usually the first weekend in March — in my calendar.  That means he has entered in HIS calendar exactly when to expect my figures.  If I miss his deadline… he may not get my return done in time.  That kind of accountability is helpful for someone with ADD.

Tax filing is often a sore subject for people with ADD / ADHD.  Want to find out how you stand in relation to other ADD Adults?  Take this short survey on ADHD and Taxes and find out!

How I deal with Income Tax preparation

I know many people would consider my method of recording a year's worth of statements, broken down by category on a pad of paper, to be unnecessarily labor-intensive and time-consuming.

I know there is wonderful software that would do all this for me.  But since I spend most of my regular workdays in front of a computer, I can't find the idea of entering more information into software at all appealing.

Instead, I take the big bunch of documents, a legal pad, my mechanical pencils and a calculator to my favorite cafe and get it done in pleasant surroundings.  My brain kicks into hyper-focus and I can stick with it for quite a long time once I get into it.

My method is  old-fashioned, but it's easiest for me.  And when it comes to a “dog task” like taxes for someone with ADD / ADHD, EASY is what matters.

What's your method for getting taxes done?  Please comment below, and fill out the survey!


Author: Bonnie Mincu
Senior Certified ADHD Coach, Founder of "Thrive with ADD," Bonnie has been coaching adults with ADD / ADHD traits since 2001. She has developed numerous training programs to help with the challenges of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.


    oh, are we having taxes again this year?


    Timely, Bonnie!
    I have poa for my mom; we have a great CPA who does everything for me, but it still took me two years to get up to date! This year, I’ve already got the “send to cpa” date on my calendar. Should work (in theory ;->)

    Bonnie Mincu

    Actually, if you do the long form, the “Send to CPA” date will only work if you’ve worked backward and gotten the “start gathering material” date and the “work on taxes” dates on your calendar.

    All I need to do is...

    Thanks for how you do your taxes, Bonnie. I also use a tax person, and am a little ashamed of it because I use her expectations/deadlines as the grown up or adminstrator or whatever you want to call it, in order to get my taxes done. Hearing that someone else does this helps with that feeling of embarressment!

    A big problem I have is gathering all my stuff together for my tax appointment. My tax person mails me a workbook listing what I need about a month in advance, which is a huge help. Nevertheless, both saving receipts throughout the year, and even keeping the various end-of-year tax statements mailed to me all in one place is a huge challenge. This is even challenging for people without ADD, so there’s lots of products out there, special files, organizers, etc. I buy them, but I don’t use them. All I need to do is put everything in one container… but year after year I don’t. Any helpful hints to work on this behavior change?

    Bonnie Mincu

    The best way to change any behavior is to create a RITUAL that will turn into a habit with LOTS of repetition. If there’s someplace you tend to dump mail or paperwork, perhaps you could create a box or file in that location where you make a point of putting the official mail that would pertain to taxes.

    Or you could create a ritual of every night going through the mail, your wallet, etc for important papers and putting them in one folder or box. If you really do it every night — no matter what — it can become a habit. You might need to post reminders to yourself about it at first. Click here to find my download class on Creating Rituals.


    I’m always later than I want to be filing my taxes. I do them myself (although now I use a computer program that helps guide me through the process), so there’s a certain amount of fear involved — there’s always something I don’t understand or some paper I haven’t kept. But I figure if paying an accountant would help me pay less or get me more of a refund, the difference would probably be eaten up by his or her fee. Perhaps that’s over-thinking it to my my disadvantage.

    I do find that doing my taxes at work helps me get through them. My home is too relaxing an environment, with too many distractions such as food and television. If I’m in a business atmosphere, I manage to concentrate and stick with the process more easily.

    Bonnie Mincu

    Barbara, that’s not unusual about being able to work on taxes better at the office. Many people with ADD have the worst time focusing on home.

    As to whether or not the accountant’s fee is worth it, have you considered the cost of your own time? What else might you be doing with that time — either for profit or enjoyment? To say nothing of peace of mind. Your answer may be the same, to do the taxes yourself. But don’t forget to take what YOUR time is worth into the equation.

    Auberta Galusha

    I have an open file box front and center under my desk with folder marked TAXES. When the forms start coming in the mail I deposit them in there. I always intend to try to do them myself, but never get to it and end up taking the file of papers to the AARP volunteers who have done them for me. No more last minute runs to the P.O.! The years I did a draft myself they found huge errors in my favor like neglecting to take personal deduction.

    Bonnie Mincu

    Taking the taxes to an AARP volunteer is an excellent idea! (I assume this person is/was a CPA or tax expert). Also, SCORE is a group of retired professionals who probably have tax accountants among them. Unless you are really expert at keeping up with the ever-changing tax laws, a professional is more likely than any layman to know the most advantageous way to file.

    Terry Morse

    You are a lifeline!!! I am de cluttering my desk successfully- have wanted to for YEARS! Thank you!!

    Lynnette Pritchett

    I place all the forms in a folder as they come in. Once I get myself motivated to start, I sit down at the computer and use to complete the process. I’ve done this for the past 10+ years and have easy online access to all previous tax information.


    I’ve found is the best way for me to do my taxes also. I love computer games, and I love the idea of getting/saving money. turobtax, in my mind, combines the two, as well as makes it easy to find past taxes (which I NEVER know where they are when I need them). I think its the #1 reason why I rarely if EVER procrastinate on taxes anymore. It’s quick, its easy, and I get my refund within a week normally. Didn’t mean to make this an advertisement, but if it helps another ADD’er, then so be it! lol

    Bonnie Mincu

    JoJo: You’ve given a great advertisement for TurboTax, and it’s a good thing. Several people who have written in would agree with you. You’ve articulated its advantages so well that you actually make ME want to look into using it, though it would take a lot to make me give up my pad of paper and mechanical pencil at Starbucks!

    […] Contact ← Has anyone with ADD / ADHD filed their taxes yet? […]


    I will take the survey and read the create a ritual information in a moment. I wanted to share the ritual that keeps me ready for taxes. The materials for the ritual are a light green binder, a bunch of clear plastic 3 hole punch sleeves, and a red fabric shopping bag.
    Any time I have something in hand through the year that needs to be kept with taxes, I put it in the red vinyl shopping bag. Each time I put something in there I feel a bit rewarded.
    For the binder. The first page is a list of all items I need every year. Then each document gets put in a clear plastic sleeve behind the list. At some point I put them in order so that I can notice what is missing from the list. If there is something new I add it to the index check off list.
    I tape an index card to the front of the binder that reads “Tax Prep Documents.” When the binder is complete, I leave the binder at my tax person’s office.
    I think it makes their life easier too. All that said… I may not focus on it easily. There are times when I know I have to make an appointment with myself to complete the book and deliver (maybe 2 or 3 appointments with myself). The thing is that with this set up is it more like a game. When I get the binder back from the tax person I set it up for next year. Since I have decided on 2 places that the documents go my preparation is easier and less frustrating. Just wanted to share my ritual.

    Bonnie Mincu

    Wonderful ritual! Making the appointment with yourself is key to keeping it working, even if the appointment has to be reset several times. Thanks for sharing it.

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Bonnie, there are no words to express how deeply I’ve been affected by your blog! I’ve only read a few things, but they have created such a complete mind shift that the tears shed have washed away my struggles forever!

For the first time in my life I feel understood and hopeful that I can put some tools and systems in place to help me overcome!”

—Michelle near Seattle

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Find out what's REALLY stopping you with free "Procrastination Tree" Tool for Adult ADD / ADHD.