Benjamin Franklin was spot-on with his famous quote, “Nothing in life is so fundamentally certain as the inevitability of death and paying taxes.” This year’s tax deadline is Tuesday, April 18, and if you are one of the beautiful people who double-downed early to file your taxes ahead of time, bravo! But for the rest of you who might have some latent thrill-seeking issues, allow us to offer a bit of advice. Filing your income taxes at the last minute can produce a world of unsavory circumstances now and further down the road. With only a couple weeks remaining to complete your taxes, here are some of the best reasons why filing tax returns at the last minute is not in your best interest.
1. Mistakes are more likely when you rush:
Filing tax returns may not be rocket science, but it does require a certain level of uninterrupted focus and concentration. Add to that the necessary documents to be collected in order to file your taxes, and you realize you must be as thorough as possible. Whether you do your own taxes or enlist the help of an accountant or tax filing service, haste makes waste. Beginning your return at 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 18 is a recipe for disaster. Filing early guarantees you have all the time you need gather the required paperwork together as well as work through your return thoughtfully and carefully. It also gives you a buffer for any human error that could occur.
2. Your tax refund is anxiously waiting for you:
If you expect to receive a tax refund, it seems almost unthinkable that you didn’t find yourself skipping to your home computer or accountant’s office with your W-2 or 1099 form in-hand in late January. The tax refund is a magical moment that only happens once a year. This is where all your hard work for the past 12 months pays off in a big way. The early bird not only gets the worm but also a healthy tax refund direct deposited into a bank account or a lovely paper check in the mail. The money is sitting there waiting for you! The sooner you file your taxes, the sooner Uncle Sam’s money is on its way.
3. Give yourself more time in case you owe money.
In the event that you discover you owe the federal government money this year, filing tax returns early gives you more time to scramble and successfully come up with your payment. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of deep dread in learning that you need to procure a sizable payment out of thin air the night before it’s due. Do yourself a favor and start the process now so that you have plenty time to not only file accurately but also to pay any unexpected tax debt easily.
4. Prevent penalties by filing tax returns early.
Tax procrastinators sometimes join the dark side of the Force and go on to become tax non-filers. So, you didn’t get your taxes done. Sure, you may feel bad about it, but before you know it, weeks turn into months and months can even turn into years. Then you have both unfiled and unpaid taxes. Soon after, the penalties follow, and they don’t stop accruing until your taxes are filed and paid. Filing your taxes early ensures that you don’t drift into a vortex of fear and panic over your yet unresolved tax responsibility.
Though it may seem difficult to find the time to file your taxes early, avoiding the sometimes inescapable pitfalls of failing to do so most certainly makes it worth the while. And the relief in knowing it’s over and done may be as rewarding as your tax refund itself!
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