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You barely have time to remove your holiday decorations before you begin receiving your tax information in the mail. If you are like many Americans, you put those W-2s and 1099s in a safe place and forget about them until tax day is close upon the horizon. A smarter plan is to file your taxes as soon as you can. If you do, you’ll reap a number of benefits.
If the government owes you money, then filing early means your bank account can benefit in a matter of weeks. E-filing means you’ll get your money even faster than if you mail in your returns. According to the IRS, you should get your return in approximately 21 days, although some returns can be delayed for various reasons, including incomplete information. If you beat the last-minute rush, you might get your refund in less than that three weeks.
If you are going to owe the government money, you are probably no rush to file your taxes. However, you can file now and pay by April 15 this year without penalty. Filing early means you will know exactly how much you owe and can make preparations to pay. You will have a chance to either gather the money or arrange a payment agreement with the IRS. Being prepared for the bill beats getting a last-minute shock.
For the easiest, most convenient way to file your taxes, use an online tax service. We’ve reviewed the best online tax services for you here.
In recent years, scammers have begun using stolen taxpayer information to file false returns. They can then collect your tax refund. If you are the victim of such a scam, getting the issue corrected could take a long time. The earlier you file, the better chance you have of beating any potential identity thief to the punch. Learn more about the early warning signs of tax identity theft here.
If you have children headed for college or already attending, you are probably familiar with financial aid paperwork. In order to correctly complete these forms, you’ll need your latest tax information. You and your children will be able to complete these forms on time with less trouble if you have your taxes completed early.
Tax time can stress out many people, leading them to postpone the inevitable as long as possible. You will be better off if you tackle your taxes head-on and get them to the IRS early. You may get a nice, quick refund, but even if you don’t, you can avoid other problems that come with last-minute filing.