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31% Aussies find tax time one of the most stressful times of year

Intuit QuickBooks has released new research today highlighting the stress and barriers Australians face during tax time. The nationally representative survey of 1,018 Australians found that almost one in three (31%) find the end of the financial year and tax submission time to be stressful, with 19% of Aussies preferring to pick up their pooch’s poop than complete their tax return.

Laughter is a source of relief

The research also revealed that laughter can be the best medicine during stressful times, with nearly 96% agreeing with this sentiment for reasons including it makes them relax (56%), it is effective (48%), and it reminds them that everything “will be okay” (47%).

Moreover, almost all (98%) of Aussies who find completing their tax return difficult agreed that laughter can be the best medicine during stressful times. The main outlets for Aussies stressed out by tax time include relaxing through humour (66%), spending time with family and/or friends (51%), and enjoying a hobby (49%).

Of the Australians who disagreed that laughter was a good form of relief, 42% said they prefer other outlets and 4% would prefer to cry.

Aussies would rather avoid tax time

Only three in 10 (29%) Australians enjoy working on their tax returns. When asked to choose, the majority of the nation would prefer to participate in other activities over completing their tax return, including cleaning up dog poop (19%), making small talk with an unpleasant neighbour (18%), sitting in the middle seat on a long-haul flight (17%), and getting a filling at the dentist (16%).


One-third (32%) of Australians surveyed find it difficult to complete their tax returns. Men are more likely to struggle completing their tax return (37% compared to 28%) and be more stressed by the end of the financial year and tax submission process (37% compared to 27%).

The biggest barriers for those who find the tax return process challenging are a lack of knowledge and understanding of the correct process (51%), lack of motivation to complete it (39%), and lack of organisation (36%). The research shows a need for more financial literacy amongst women, as they are more likely to have a lack of knowledge and understanding of the correct process (62% vs 43%). They’re also more likely to not know where to start (29%) compared to men (11%).

Of the Australians who don’t find it difficult to complete their tax return, 39% said it is because their accountant or tax consultant does everything for them, 13% said they love tax, and 6% admitted to being in denial.

EOFY impact on Australian small businesses

The majority of Australians (62%) believe small business owners should have more support to help them through the end of financial year stress. These Aussies believe the initiatives that would most benefit small businesses during tax time include free business coaching (61%), free government advice (59%), subsidised access to accountants/bookkeepers (48%), and free access to mental health support (41%).

Making tax time less taxing

Australian consumers and small businesses can make tax time less taxing by working with trusted accountants and bookkeepers, according to Damien Greathead, Accountant & Advisor Lead at Intuit QuickBooks Australia.

“Aussie small businesses have had a tough few years and whether you’re a tradie, hairdresser or fast-paced startup, we know that tax time can add significant stress and mental load. We want to reduce the burden and stress of tax-time.”

“Working with an accountant or bookkeeper who uses tools like Intuit QuickBooks, or even using the tool yourself can help small business owners reduce stress and get time back in their day to focus on unwinding with some comedy, seeing friends and family or pursuing their hobbies,’” Greathead said.


Rachel Clements, Director of Psychological Services, Centre for Corporate Health said tax time can be an incredibly demanding period, often causing a great deal of stress.

“During this time, reaching out to a professional and your loved ones for emotional support is crucial. Sharing your worries with family and friends can provide solace, and discussing your concerns can offer valuable insights and help put things into perspective,” Clements said.

“Taking breaks and time to switch off and recharge is also important to tackle these often stressful times in the right mindset. If you find yourself excessively concerned about your stress levels, it is advisable to seek the guidance of a mental health professional. Consulting with an expert can assist you in navigating any underlying issues before they escalate into more significant problems.”


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