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Filing Early: Should I or Shouldn’t I

KarenL
Employee Tax Expert
1 0 774

FeaturedContent_earlyfilers.jpgDo you love getting a jumpstart on filing your tax returns? Some of us have a real need to be organized and make sure our tax returns are completed as soon as possible - if for no other reason than to just check it off our list. 

Others aren’t as obsessed about getting it done, but know they’re receiving a refund. Maybe they typically qualify for a refundable tax credit such as the Earned Income Credit (EIC). Or they have over withheld the taxes on their paychecks and want that money back in their own pockets ASAP. After all, the IRS has “borrowed” it for long enough!

There’s another group of tax filers too - the ones who are filing for the very first time and are anxious to see what the “tax season” fuss is all about.  If this is you, and you need to know where and how to begin, you’ll get a great start with this info-filled article called Help! It’s My First Time Filing Taxes. It includes the basics like some tax terminology, help with gathering your docs, links to calculators, a checklist, and so much more! 

Filing early or waiting until the last minute is generally a personal choice, but sometimes it’s because you have no other choice. There is a sense of urgency for some to file early because of the need to produce a current tax return for personal reasons such as buying a home, higher education tuition assistance, or other financial needs. Many of those who have no choice, but to postpone filing, usually do so because they are waiting for financial documents from sources (such as business investments) that have not yet completed their own tax returns.  

Filing early has its perks. The good news for early filers is that:

  • it’s off your mind and your To Do list.
  • if you’re due a refund, you should get it sooner.
  • you’ll know earlier if you will owe - and can plan for paying the amount due.

However, filing early has some potential downsides too. It’s possible that:

  • certain forms you need may not yet be finalized by the IRS.
  • you might not have received all your official tax forms (W-2s, 1099s,K-1s).
  • last minute tax law changes could affect you, and you will end up amending your tax return.
  • your rush to the finish line may lead you to skip tax-reducing deductions and credits. To help prevent that, check out some tax deductions worth looking into.

Before making any decisions, remember that each person’s situation is different. For some people, it’s better to file early even if it means the need to amend their tax return later.  For others, it’s best to extend and wait. Either way, make sure you do your homework, for your own personal tax scenario, so there are no IRS surprises waiting for you down the road.

Pro Tip: Ask the pros! 

That’s right! Going to a pro with your tax questions is always the best decision. Getting accurate tax advice, that is unique to your financial situation, is generally not a discussion for dinner and drinks - or a social experiment type of situation. After all, the goal is to keep more of your hard-earned money and to avoid an IRS audit, right?

Lucky for you TurboTax has credentialed Tax Experts ready to help you when you need it!  The article Tax Questions: Who's Your Expert will easily guide you to the Expert help you need and by the method you want to receive it.


Still want to learn more? Enjoy these additional resources.

When to File Taxes: Should You Always Try to Be Early?
Why Should You File Your Taxes Early? Our Top 5 Reasons
How to File Taxes Online
First Time Taxpayers: Your Go-to Guide For Filing Your Taxes - loaded with links!
Filing Taxes for the First-Timer

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