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Xero Australia’s Emotional Tax Return is back for 2022!

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Joseph Lyons

Jun 16, 2022

It’s no secret that the past few years have been some of the toughest yet for small businesses. From lockdowns and rising inflation to global and local crises, disruption has become the new norm for many. Although we’re a nation of fighters, the ups and downs have taken a toll – especially an emotional one. So, to help small businesses in need of a little respite, we’re excited to announce that Xero’s Emotional Tax Return competition is back for 2022! 

Whether you’ve missed milestone parties, grown a few extra grey hairs or forgotten what a good night’s sleep feels like, we want to make it better. How? By inviting you – small business owners (that’s advisors too) – to submit an Emotional Tax Return claim. All you have to do is tell us in 75 words or less about an emotional expense you’ve incurred while running your business via this page. The most creative and original responses will go into the draw to win a prize from a total pool worth $40,000. So be sure to get your entries in by 14 July 2022 to be in the running (T&Cs apply).

The hidden costs of running a small business in 2022

To better understand some of the more taxing aspects of entrepreneurialism, we asked Australians who run a small business what sacrifices they’ve made to pursue their passion. We found that – despite challenges like inflation – fewer business owners say they’re stressed or suffering from stress-related side effects compared to last year. However, that’s not to say they aren’t in need of some time out. 

According to our research, overtime invested into running a small business is eating away at important personal time for two-thirds of respondents. The average self-employed Australian loses 43 days each year to the demands of their business – that’s 19.8 hours every week of redirected time from their own priorities, like socialising, sleep or hobbies. 

Meanwhile, romance is fizzling (rather than sizzling) for those self-employed Australians. Compared to 2021, more respondents have forgotten the last time they went on a date, while one in eight hasn’t been wined or dined at all in the past 12 months. 

These factors have all taken a toll on wellbeing. Exhaustion, sleepless nights, headaches and hair loss are among the top stress symptoms for small business owners. Overall, this shows that the hidden costs associated with running your own show really do add up. 

What emotional expense will you claim this year? 

If you need a little entry inspiration, it’s a good idea to look to your friends, family or peers for ideas. Last year, Camilla Aurel-Smith of Smith & Co Foods said, “It’s been eight months since my last haircut, and I can’t remember when I saw my husband for a date night.” If you’re in the same boat, maybe a romantic spa weekend is just what you need. Or, if you’re anything like Korinna Molenaar of Molenaar Mixology, perhaps a fancy dinner with friends is the claim for you. For last year’s Emotional Tax Return, Korinna said, “I work mostly on the weekends, so I’ve missed out on catching up with friends. This means I’ve tended to live my life through other people’s events!” 

Despite the emotional costs that come with running a small business, most Australians (85 percent) wouldn’t have it any other way. What’s more, three-quarters of you can’t imagine living a different life. After everything the community has been through in recent years, these statistics are heartening reminders that when you’re doing it tough, it’s all worth it in the end. But it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to catch a well-earned break now and then. So whether you’re yearning for a ticket to paradise or a bit of rest and relaxation, the Emotional Tax Return could be your chance. 

Find out more about this year’s Emotional Tax Return competition here.

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