Procrastinators live by the old adage that, “if you wait to the last minute, it only takes a minute.” That mantra often applies to their tax returns as well. Traditionally, millions of Americans wait until the last week to get their tax paperwork in order and file their returns. Putting off your tax returns until mid-April isn’t the ideal way to set yourself up for a great year. Instead, if you file your taxes as early as possible, you can avoid potential pitfalls, lower your stress level, and maybe even save some money. Forget about that last-minute stuff! Here’s why you need to file your taxes early in 2019.
Straighten Out Your Budget
Until your taxes are filed, you never really know how much money you’re going to get back, or the amount you might owe. After all, it’s hard to stay aware of changes in the tax law and know how they may affect you. Additionally, if you made more or less income in a given year, determining how those changes will affect you on Tax Day can be difficult. Filing your taxes earlier will help you dispel the uncertainty surrounding tax season. You’ll know exactly how much you’re getting back or the amount you’ll owe, and you can start adjusting your household budget accordingly. This will make it easier to plan your finances for the rest of the year. Once your taxes are taken care of, you’ll also be in a better position to set annual financial goals, such as paying down high levels of debt or saving for retirement.
Speed Up That Refund
The most obvious reason to file your taxes early is to speed up your refund. The earlier you get your taxes filed and done with, the sooner that refund will be deposited in your bank account. This will put the money that’s rightfully yours back in your hands faster, so you can use it as you see fit. If you do have a refund coming, filing electronically and directly depositing it into your account can help minimize the time between filing your return and actually getting your tax refund.
Optimize Your Return
Another good reason to work on your tax return earlier is because doing so will help you achieve the best possible outcome. If you begin filing your tax return in mid to late February, you’ll have more time to get everything straight with your tax and financial records. If you’re missing an important tax document or receipts, you’ll have plenty of time to find or request a replacement and put your best foot forward when it comes to your return. This is more than just a good habit to live by; starting your tax return earlier can save you money as well. People who prepare and file their tax returns in February, on average, receive larger refunds than those who wait until later in the season.
Quality Time with Your Tax Professional
Another reason to file your tax returns early is to avoid the rush of everyone else that waits until the very last minute. If you work with an accountant or tax professional at the beginning of tax season, chances are strong that he or she will have much more time to spend on your personal situation. Conversely, if you wait until late March or early April, everyone who prepares taxes is going to be hurried and have limited time for individual attention. Starting early will ensure that your tax professional has ample time to examine your financial situation and determine the best tax strategy for preparing your return. This may help you achieve a better outcome than if you had just waited until the very last minute.
Lower the Stress
People today are more stressed out about money than ever, and that stress is often compounded during tax season. The dread and uncertainty surrounding your tax return can become untenable and even lead to other counterproductive and unhealthy behaviors, such as eating too much or excessive use of alcohol. To mitigate that stress, take care of those taxes as early as possible! Doing so will help remove the anxiety you’ll feel if you wait until the last minute to gather your paperwork and head to your tax professional’s office. Having your taxes filed and in the rear-view mirror will also help you focus on other pressing financial matters, such as dealing with credit card debt or saving for the future.
Don’t wait until the last minute to file your taxes this year. Instead, get organized and head to your tax professional’s office as soon as you can. Of course, it’s important to remember that we are not tax professionals and you should consult with one before making any major financial decisions. Getting your taxes done early can help lower your stress level, and it might even help you net a larger refund. Additionally, getting your taxes done well before the April 15 deadline can help ensure you head into 2019 on your best possible financial footing.