6 reasons to file your taxes sooner rather than later

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Although federal filing season doesn’t end until April 18 this year, don’t wait until the last minute to file your 2022 income tax returns.

Most taxpayers will have received their reporting forms by this point in the season and are therefore ready to file their tax returns. So there is no reason to hesitate. In addition, filing earlier or later offers numerous advantages – maybe even some you haven’t even thought of.

Below are reasons why you should complete your return now.

It’s easier to find help at Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Whether you file your taxes online using tax software, consult a tax professional, or have your taxes taken care of through a free program, there are likely to be more appointments available now than if you wait until March or April.

You make fewer mistakes Prostock-studio / Shutterstock.com

Preparing your taxes is difficult enough, and recent changes in federal tax laws mean your 2022 tax return could be more complicated than usual.

Starting your return now gives you time to find any missing information or documents to claim any credits and deductions to which you are entitled. Plus, you don’t have to rush the process of preparing your return, reducing the chance of making a mistake – which could delay your refund or even result in the IRS examining your return.

Even if a tax professional does your tax returns for you, they’re less stressed or rushed now compared to later in the season — and therefore less likely to make a mistake.

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You will receive your refund sooner Mehaniq / Shutterstock.com

Typically, you’ll receive your federal refund in less than 21 days if you file your tax return electronically, but the clock doesn’t start ticking until you’ve actually filed your tax return. So the sooner you submit, the sooner you’ll get your refund.

The same goes for tracking your refund online using the IRS’s free Where’s My Refund? tool. Tool: You can start checking the status of your tax year 2022 refund 24 hours after your e-file. So the sooner you submit your return, the sooner you can start tracking your refund.

You will beat crooks for your refund Jim Barber / Shutterstock.com

Access to personally identifiable information such as your name, social security number, and date of birth may be enough for a crook to file a fraudulent tax return on your behalf and impersonate you so they can redirect your refund to their own bank account. In this case, you may have to wait months for the identity theft to be resolved.

But the sooner you submit your return and receive your refund, the less time a crook has to try and steal it.

You’ll have more time to pay off your debts Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock.com

The sooner you complete your tax return, the sooner you’ll know if you owe taxes for 2022 – and if so, how much.

If you end up with a tax bill, filing it sooner or later also means you have more time to pay the balance. That’s because you have until April 18 to pay any taxes due, whether you filed your return on the first day of the season or the last day, or any time in between.

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Assuming you filed your tax return on February 18th, you would have two months to raise the money. But wait until April 18 to submit and you’ll only have a matter of hours, if at all.

You save money Krakenimages.com / Shutterstock.com

If you wait until the last minute to prepare your return and the process ends up being more complex or time-consuming than expected, there’s a good chance you’ll need to request an extension. That would give you until October 16, 2023 to file your 2022 tax return. But again, the IRS only gives taxpayers until tax day to pay any taxes due, even if they’ve requested an extension. So after April 18, you could owe interest and penalties if you don’t pay your 2022 tax bill on time.

If you need more time to check out, you may be eligible for a payment plan, but that could also cost you. There’s a fee to set up a long-term IRS installment plan, and signing up for a short- or long-term plan means you’ll continue to owe applicable interest and penalties until the balance is paid in full.