“The work you do is truly life changing”: Tax debt and mental health.

I’m not in the habit of sharing my SMS messages on LinkedIn, but yesterday I received this text from a client: “I want to say thank you for the amazing job you have done in such a short space of time. Thank you also for introducing me to [finance broker]. I wish I had had the courage to discuss [the debt] before the situation imploded. The work you do is truly life changing. Thank you.”

October is mental health month here in Australia. In our industries (finance, tax, consulting, accounting, law) mental health rarely gets talked about – at least not openly.

But for us at Tax Assure, it’s actually pretty front and centre: more often than you’d imagine we have a client in tears as they tell us their tax debt story. Others aren’t crying, but we can hear the strain as they speak.

The numbers are big and scary; they’ve had their head in the sand for long enough that interest and penalties have built up. They’re often not sure how to even start to address the debt and are worried they’ll lose their business or home – that they’ll face liquidation or bankruptcy – when all they want is to work hard and live well.

They feel out of control and often don’t know that there are other options available.

The good news is that there are options. For some, liquidation may be a solution. For others, it’s about sourcing the right finance, or finding ways to re-structure other debt so we can create a viable repayment plan for the tax debt.

We engage with the ATO to halt action, while we devise that right solution for each client. And then negotiate a payment plan the ATO will accept. Then they can get on with their lives.

One of the best parts of our job at Tax Assure is the moment when we can say to these clients: it’s OK, we can help you.

Mental health awareness month may be nearly over, but the strain of outstanding tax debt will still be there. So if you have clients with tax debt (or you have debt yourself), I urge you to give us a call. We will have a solution, and it can be life changing.

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