A lot of us struggle to figure out how to pay taxes on the compensation we’ve earned. For women especially, we perform a lot of emotional labor — the task of managing emotions to get a job done — and here’s a guide on how to account for this in your taxes.
Tally up all the emotional labor you performed this year
For the calendar year, figure out how many men you explained “me too” to without making them feel like the enemy. Now calculate how much time you spent thanking your husband for doing the dishes and not cheating on you. Consider all the time you spent giving excessively polite feedback to your male coworkers. It all adds up!
Calculate your compensation
Emotional labor is by definition unpaid, but you know you received some compensation. A retweet here, a drama-free bachelorette party there, a glass of wine you enjoyed in the bathtub after a long day of listening to your husband explain why he didn’t clean the bathtub — you earned all of that. And you need to pay taxes on it.
Figure out your income bracket
This is something you should already know in case your husband or children ask you.
List your dependents
Fortunately, this will be a lot of people. Most of your friends depend on you emotionally, especially those who are still unmarried. Your husband, your children, your husband’s friends, your shaman — all of them. And when your kids’ nanny tries to list you as her dependent, remind her that she only saw you cry six times this year.
Find some loopholes
You know how Mark Zuckerberg never really has to pay taxes because rich people get out of them? You can also do that with compensation for emotional labor. For example, if you take on a lot of emotional debt, you can avoid taxes. So next time Janet tells you she likes her haircut, don’t tell her you like her bag. You’ll owe her a compliment later, but you’ll avoid taxes this year. Also, her bag is leather, and you can’t really support killing animals for accessories when you could instead kill them just for fun.
Include outstanding income from
emotional labor performed in years past
Remember that time in college that you comforted Eric through his breakup, even though you’re the one he was breaking up with? Our records show you never paid up for this, so do so this year, along with the $7000 late fee. Also, Eric is going through his second divorce, so call him and make sure he’s okay.
Hide your emotional assets in offshore accounts
Now is a great time to plan your family’s vacation to the Cayman Islands. Your husband would never take the initiative to organize it, so do it yourself, and open a bank account there to hide some of your emotional assets, including your tear ducts and a DVD of Sophie’s Choice.
Withhold the correct percentage
of income earned on emotional labor
After previous steps, you should know how much you owe in taxes. However, if you didn’t withhold the correct amount during the year, you might need to do some extra emotional labor at the last minute to cover the cost. May we suggest getting a temp job in customer service? Even just a week of that should include enough emotional labor to cover your tax bill. Don’t forget to withhold taxes from the temp job, too.
Hire an accountant specializing in emotional labor
If you’ve gone through the previous steps, you know that it’s really difficult to pay taxes on emotional labor. At this point in the process, you’ve probably made a mistake, and it’s best to bring in one of the pros. I could tell you nicely exactly where the error was, but being polite is too much emotional labor for me right now. Call Lena Dunham or the woman who wrote that Harper’s article — she can sort your taxes out for you.
Don’t expect a refund
Actually, don’t expect anything from anybody.
Do your husband’s regular taxes,
and your own, and probably your brother’s too
Once you’ve paid taxes on compensation from your emotional labor, it’s time to do taxes for everyone else. Call all the men in your life to make sure they know tax season is upon them, and then offer to help.