Tribune: The tax man cometh, and the therapist is right behind

Filing season can be hard on everyone, tax pros and taxpayers alike. But a recent poll by Cash App Taxes revealed that 25% of Gen Z taxpayers said they get so stressed during filing season, they need a therapist.1 Further, 54% of that same group said that filing taxes has brought them to tears in past years or they expect it will this year.

This could open up a new advertising avenue for tax professionals: “No-More-Tears Tax Prep.”

(If Cash App Taxes sounds familiar to you, they were the ones involved in the logo dispute with H&R Block, which we covered in the March 5, 2023, issue of Spidell’s Tax Season Tribune.2)

AB 984 to the rescue

In an attempt to bolster the financial literacy of young people leaving high school, California’s AB 984 would require a one-semester course in economics that would include content in personal finance as a requirement to graduate.

According to the bill’s authors, “AB 984 guarantees access to a personal finance course to all high school students, instilling them with the skills and support they will need throughout their lives.” Problem solved.

Except the bill analysis admits that there have been numerous past attempts to mandate personal finance instruction in high school, but research into whether this instruction is actually effective has mixed results.3 Specifically:

“One author concludes that, ‘We have long noted with dismay that students who take a high school course in personal finance tend to do no better on our exam than those who do not. This finding has been a great disappointment to consumer educators and to those who support efforts to make courses in personal finance a requirement for high school graduation, and it points to the need for better materials and teacher training.’ (Mandell, 2006).”

Until personal finance finds its way into the curriculum, filing season might be a boon to therapists. And taxpayers will want to refer to the IRS’s FAQs to see whether those therapy costs are deductible medical expenses. But more on that next week.