Did you know the tax season is actually shorter this year? According to the IRS, the government shutdown in October came during the peak time for preparing the 2014 filing system. That’s why the IRS started processing returns January 31st (instead of the originally scheduled January 21st). Here’s the catch: the deadline for filing is still April 15th. With a time period to file, here’s why its more important than ever to be an early bird tax filer.
- More time to correct mistakes
We’re all human, and we all make mistakes. Sometimes small mistakes slip by, even after thoroughly checking tax returns. Luckily, the IRS has ways to amend returns even after they’ve been filed. You want to make sure you leave yourself plenty of time so that you can amend those errors before the deadline. Also, giving yourself more time means you won’t be as rushed while preparing your returns. That gives you a chance check everything over and be aware of common tax return errors.
- More time to get money together
The sooner you file your returns, the sooner you’ll know the amount that you owe. This is valuable to know early on because then you’ll have more time to save up or make sure you have that money.
- Avoid being late and owing more
Filing late can mean you owe even more money [http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Filing-Past-Due-Tax-Returns]. You can be penalized, or even risk losing a refund. It can also affect Social Security benefits, or delay loan approvals. With all that at stake, why risk it? Filing early means you’ll definitely save yourself the trouble of dealing with all those consequences.
- Avoid the rush
According to some numbers [http://www.mainstreet.com/article/moneyinvesting/taxes/when-americans-really-file-their-taxes], 41% of Americans wait until the final four weeks of the tax season to file their returns. 27% filed in the final two weeks before April 15th. With some many people putting off filing until the last minute, you’re better off avoiding the rush. Tackle your taxes early on so you will have an easier time asking questions to professional tax preparers when they’re not swamped. Also, if you’re paper filing, procrastination can mean longer lines at the post office and waiting longer to hear back about how much you owe.
- Possibly get your refund earlier
The IRS says that filing early is no guarantee for getting an earlier refund. However, with so many people filing last minute, it makes sense that you have a better chance of a quick refund when the IRS processing centers aren’t as swamped. There are a variety of factors [http://www.moneycrashers.com/how-long-take-get-tax-refund-status/] that go into when you receive your refund. But one thing is certain: filing early never hurts.
If you need more time to file, the IRS has instructions on how you can get an extension. Remember, when it comes to taxes, the old adage “better late than never” has never been more true.