Ariel Katz
Grant Thornton Israel

5 Reasons to File Your Taxes Early

Why Filing Taxes Early is Still A Good Idea

You might have heard about the 90-day tax payment extension due to the coronavirus pandemic but aren’t certain about what it covers. What does the extension mean for most Americans? Do taxes still need to be filed and paid by April 15, 2020?

Tax Day is now July 15, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. This change includes the filing and payment deadline. The IRS is still accepting returns and processing refunds, and we are ready to help you get your important refunds now.

And that’s not the only benefit of early filing! Here are a few more reasons to get your tax returns prepared and filed on time (if possible).

  1. Early filers eliminate tax deadline stress.

According to a recent AICPA survey, a majority of taxpayers (52%) are stressed over filing their taxes.  This is no surprise. Any time you face an unpleasant task, it’s best to get it out of the way as soon as possible. Income taxes are no different. You have to get the information and data organized and prepared.  No escaping it, so just grit your teeth and get it over with.

  1. Early filers average larger refunds.

We all realize, a tax refund is not free money. Getting a large refund from the IRS just means you’ve been lending the government your money (without interest) all year long—he’s just returning what’s already yours!

If the government does owe you money this year, you want to make sure you’re getting every dollar that’s rightfully yours—and filing early can help you do that. IRS data shows that taxpayers who file by late March get significantly larger refunds than those who file later.

Obviously, if you know you’re getting a refund, you’re more likely to file sooner, and that could be part of the reason early filers enjoy larger refunds. But another reason is that the sooner you start on your taxes, the more opportunity you have to make sure you’re claiming all the tax deductions and tax credits you’re eligible for, which takes more time and documentation than claiming the standard deduction.

  1. Early filers can protect their refunds from identity thieves.

There you are, just wrapping up your tax return and about to file it in . . . but it’s rejected. That’s because a tax return using your Social Security number has already been filed, and your heart sinks into your stomach as you realize you’re now a victim of tax refund fraud.

And it happens more often than you think. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the IRS estimated that online tax fraudsters tried to steal at least $12.2 billion through identity theft tax refund fraud in 2016.

Filing early may not completely eliminate the threat of identity theft, but it can protect your refund. If thieves file a return using your Social Security number before you do, the IRS will kick out your return since their records show you’ve already been paid. It can take months to clear up the mess with the IRS and finally receive your refund.

  1. Early filers with a tax bill have time to make a plan.

When you’re facing an income tax bill instead of a refund, it’s natural to put off filing as long as possible. But if you go ahead and fill out your tax forms and file them, you’ll know exactly how much you have to pay—and you won’t have to pay in full until the April filing deadline.

The more time you have to come up with the money, the less likely you are to bust your budget or drain your emergency fund. So, don’t spend the first part of the year with your head in the sand. Get the facts about what you owe, make your plan, and get that tax bill out of the way.

You can save time and reduce hassle by gathering the right paperwork the first time around. Not sure what you’ll need to have in hand to file your taxes? Contact us for a free tax preparation checklist.

  1. Early filers face less competition for access to their tax professional.

You may have found out the hard way that it’s tough to get on a good tax pro’s schedule during crunch time. In fact, if you haven’t set an appointment with a pro by the middle of March, you may have to file an extension.

The best way to avoid all that hassle is to get an appointment with your Grant Thornton Israel US tax advisor as soon as possible.

About the Author
Ariel Katz CPA is an expert in United States taxation and accounting at Grant Thornton Israel. Mr. Katz focuses on individual, corporate, and non-profit companies, and advises many companies in the area of tax structuring and planning. Mr. Katz is highly involved in academic teaching and professional training. He conducts various activities, including: Senior lecturer in the accounting department in the field of corporate taxation and partnership taxation at the College of Management Academic College. His hobbies include learning Torah, chess, bicycle riding, and running.
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