As the old saying goes, “There’s nothing in life that’s certain except for death and taxes.” We might want to amend that to read, “There’s nothing in life that’s certain except for DISC and taxes.” (Sure, death too. But that’s something to worry about after tax season.)

With the income tax filing date fast approaching, taxpayers are filled with a host of emotions: fear, panic, satisfaction, hope. Though taxes are something that every American has to contend with, it seems like each individual approaches their taxes with a different set of strategies.

The way that various people approach tax season isn’t something that’s randomly determined by individual whim. In most cases, a person’s response to the yearly process of income tax filing is actually ingrained deep within their personality. When you have a good understanding of the different DISC personality types, it becomes easy to predict how you (and the people around you) will approach their taxes.

DISC Personality Type D

D personality types are direct and decisive. Tax season doesn’t throw them in a panic, or cause them to retreat and procrastinate.  It’s a challenge that they take head on, like everything else in their lives.

A D won’t put off filing to the last minute, and will be clever and aggressive with the deductions they claim. Personality type D is more likely to take chances with risky deductions, and likes to “win” at the game by getting every dollar they possibly can back in their refund. They thrive on confrontation, and won’t let fear of being audited scare them into compromising. This sounds great in theory, but this trait can actually be a bit of a concern, as a D will sometimes push the envelope too far. (Sorry, but even though you may occasionally take clients golfing, your country club membership isn’t deductible as a business expense.)

A D doesn’t like to relinquish control, so in some cases might choose to do their taxes themselves. That said, people with personality type D highly value their own time and often choose to delegate responsibility to a trusted and competent professional. That, combined with the fact that D’s don’t like to think too much about minute details (which, unfortunately, is a big part of tax filing), would make a D more likely to hire someone to do their taxes for them then to fill out the forms on their own.

DISC Personality Type I

I personality types are creative, social, and energetic. They are hardly the type that enjoys sitting down for hours with a spreadsheet and a box of receipts. An I personality always gravitates towards the most fun and enjoyable way of doing things. Unfortunately, there’s not much fun to be had with income tax forms.

I personality types love the idea of hiring an accountant to do their taxes for them. They think: Why sweat the details when you can pay someone else to do it for you? When I personalities do their taxes themselves, they are the personality type most likely to skip a line, miss a signature, or make a small mistake that would cause problems down the line. This isn’t due to lack of ability. Rather, an I finds the process of filling out forms to be so tedious that it’s difficult for them to devote their full attention to the process.

An I personality is also not terribly detail-oriented or deadline-focused. They might accidentally let the April 15th deadline slide, or become so overwhelmed by the details of the process that they procrastinate doing their taxes until the last minute. For both of those reasons, an I is the personality type most likely to wait until the last minute to file. The majority of people racing to the post office to get their taxes mailed my midnight on April 15 are personality type I.

If an I gets a big refund check, they will likely want to spend it on something fun: a night on the town, a vacation, or a personal indulgence.

DISC Personality Type S

Personality type S is steady, stable, and secure. An S respects authority, and takes the taxation process very seriously. An S likes to avoid conflict, and dreads the idea of an audit. For this reason, the S will typically err on the side of caution when calculating deductions on their tax returns.

S personalities gravitate toward tradition and routine, and likely have a system for filing income tax returns that doesn’t change from year to year. Whether it’s using a tax professional or a specialized piece of software, they are committed to their routine. They will take their time getting their taxes completed (because rushing can lead to mistakes), but won’t wait until the last minute to file. They follow a middle-of-the-road strategy, making sure they don’t file too early (out of haste) or to late (out of panic).

An S is by nature fairly conservative, and like to plan for the future. It’s likely, then, that if an S gets money back from their taxes, they will put most of it into savings.

DISC Personality Type C

Personality type C is precise, analytical, and a bit of a perfectionist. They are detail-oriented, and pride themselves on accuracy when completing their tax returns. They are also highly organized, and typically have all of their tax information organized and ready to go shortly after New Year’s Eve. Personality type C is the most likely to have their taxes completed well in advance of the deadline, sometimes as early as January.

Personality type C is a rule-follower, so will be purposefully exact (and even conservative) when estimating deductions. They are also good with analyzing information, so they tend to like to do their taxes themselves. (In fact, detail-oriented personality type C is a very common personality type for tax accountants.)

A C is schedule-oriented and wouldn’t dream of missing the filing deadline. If personality type I misses a filing deadline and tells a C about it, the C will be utterly stunned that someone could let that happen. To them, missing an official deadline is unthinkable.

A C strives for perfection, and hates the idea of an audit. (Who doesn’t? But a C would take it personally, as a form of direct criticism.) Fear of an audit is a strong motivating factor behind the C’s desire to file accurately, and early.

DISC behavioral analysis is a great way to predict how you or the people around you will respond in almost any situation you can think of–Even when the taxman comes calling. Do you recognize yourself in any of these personality types? If you haven’t done so already, take our free DISC assessment to see which category you fit into. It’s a fun way to see how the theory behind DISC ties to a wide variety of predictable daily behaviors.


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