The Payroll Blog

The Early Bird Gets the Refund - 4 Reasons to File Your Taxes Early

Posted On
2/4/2019
By
Stephanie Davis

With W2’s out the door and tax season officially in full swing, you’re either ready to file your tax return and potentially get a refund or you’re looking at the calendar determining just how long you can put off this tax task. Did you know, besides getting your potential refund faster, there are actually several benefits to filing your taxes early?

  1. Have more availability with tax professionals. While April 15th feels far away, that looming tax filing deadline will be here before we know it. On paper, tax season appears to have plenty of time, but if you need help or drag your feet getting documents around, you could have a hard time filing on time. If you go to a tax professional to get help with taxes, scheduling an appointment is going to be much more difficult the closer we get to the deadline. When we recently spoke to CPA and SurePayroll customer, Matthew Weissman, he advised getting an appointment on the books by middle to end of February. This will give you, and your tax preparer, plenty of time to iron out important details and get your tax return filed sooner.
  2. You have more time to fix a mistake. Taxes can be tricky and confusing, and with this year being the first tax season since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts was enacted, experts are expecting this filing season to be more difficult than those in the past. When filing taxes on your own it’s easy to make a mistake, such as entering a wrong number, or forgetting to claim something on your taxes. As you know, not all tax mistakes are simple and can wind up costing you big in fines or other tax penalties. If you find yourself filing on your own and making a mistake, you have plenty of time to contact somebody for help and get your mistake resolved if you start early.
  3. Reduce stress. Taxes are stressful enough. Putting them off until the last minute and paying even more money in late fees for not getting them done on time just adds to that stress. Plus with point number one, waiting to file can cause you to run into issues that are out of your control – like the availability of tax professionals. Ideally, preparing for tax season will take place before the season actually begins. Little things like keeping receipts can be done throughout the year and will save you plenty of time and headaches when you’re searching for a receipt for something that happened early on in the previous year. Another way to reduce stress is to plan to file an extension. In our interview with Matthew Weissman, he acknowledged that just because this is the time of year to file taxes, doesn’t mean it’s the best time for you or your small business. This could be your business’s busy season, or you may find yourself dealing with unavoidable personal issues. For those reasons, if you aren’t in the headspace to properly file your taxes, choosing to file an extension is a great idea to buy you a little extra time, as long as you are aware of that deadline and don’t miss it when it approaches.
  4. Avoid tax fraud. Hackers and identity thieves are everywhere. With important numbers such as your Social Security Number and bank account floating around, tax season is a time when thieves are on the hunt for identify theft. For the 2016 filing season, the IRS stopped 787,000 confirmed identity theft returns, which totaled more than $4 billion. When you file your taxes sooner, you can avoid somebody trying to steal your identity and claim on your behalf. Since you will already be in the system as processing a refund, or already have the refund, if somebody tries to file under your name, the system will kick them out.

Bottom Line

Thankfully filing a tax return is only a once a year chore and as you can see, by crossing it off your to-do list early on, you reap many benefits. One final thing to keep in mind – don’t file early if you’re not prepared. It won’t do you any good filing early if you aren’t sure you have all of the proper information you need. Rushing also leads to mistakes that you could avoid if you slow down. This year, avoid the stress, file early, and start planning how to spend your tax refund.