85% of young Canadians experience at least some anxiety or stress in anticipation of filing their taxes, according to a recent survey conducted by TurboTax. To shed light on this phenomenon and validate the feelings so many experience each year, we’re releasing Undone, a horror film depicting the stress experienced by millions of young Canadians. In Undone, we show young Canadians that they’re not alone and that TurboTax is there to help them get their taxes done right.

For Canadian Gen Zs aged 18-27, many of whom are filing for the first time and have multiple income streams, filing taxes can be a real source of anxiety. This stress seems to stem from a lack of confidence when filing, especially as this may be the first time they are filing on their own. In fact, stress and anxiety associated with tax filing anticipation drops as Canadians get older, potentially due to becoming more comfortable and experienced with the process, with 75% of millennials reporting stress and anxiety at the prospect of filing taxes, and decreases to 59% for Gen X and 51% for Boomers. 

The biggest reasons for this anxiety among Gen Z include fear of making mistakes (39%), concerns about owing money (35%), a lack of knowledge about the tax filing process (31%), and confusion about tax policy (29%). 

To validate the feelings that so many young Canadians face during tax season, we’ve depicted how anxiety can manifest in a short horror film directed by Filip Terlecki released today. The film showcases the dread, uneasiness and genuine fear one can experience as a result of anxiety, in an effort to educate Canadians about how to address these fears while showcasing that TurboTax is designed to take the pressure off the filing process by taking the guesswork out of preparing your tax return. 

We were thrilled to launch the film at our offices in Toronto yesterday, April 11th, and hosted a panel event with film director Filip Terlecki, TurboTax’s Canadian marketing lead Gah-Yee Won, mental health expert Brittany Krystantos and CPA and tax expert Stefanie Ricchio. Discussions focused on how anxiety can manifest, with Brittany Krystantos offering advice for Canadians experiencing tax anxiety, and Stefanie Ricchio sharing tips and advice for Canadians who still need to prepare their tax return.

“We know Canadians can experience anxiety around filing their taxes, and TurboTax’s mission is to meet Canadians where they are. We do this by building our products that make it easy for Canadians to file their taxes, regardless of their tax situation. We also market our products through real Canadian experiences,” said Gah-Yee Won, Head of Marketing, Consumer Group at Intuit Canada. “With Undone, TurboTax is continuing to keep in lockstep with culture, ensuring our creative reflects lived experience and lands with impact.”

“The best way to alleviate tax anxiety is to get ahead of it by tackling it bit by bit and knowing when to seek out expert help,” said Brittany Krystantos, author and mental health expert. “Brands like TurboTax are helping normalize and shed light on real phenomena experienced by young Canadians as they grow into adulthood and the responsibilities that come with it.” 

Undone was truly a one-of-a-kind project. And it was amazing that the teams at TurboTax and Citizen Relations had the courage to dive headfirst into the horror genre, unwavering in their commitment,” said Filip Terlecki, director of Undone

“With this exceptional opportunity, my aim was to craft a film that delivers spine-tingling scares, heart-pounding tension, and an unforgettable climax that lingers in viewers’ minds long after the credits roll. To achieve this, my team and I delved deep into the psychological aspects of horror, utilizing darkness and sound to let the imagination run wild.” Terlecki continued. “Combined with the captivating performances of our talented actors, Mitsuko and Dylan, some great monster makeup, clever practical effects and a touch of VFX magic and our humble horror looks and feel like something you might see at a theatre near you.”

TurboTax’s Undone stars Mitsuko Noguchi and Dylan Simpson and can be found on YouTube and via TurboTax Canada’s social channels.