According to the IRS, over 16 million tax returns were filed during the week of Feb. 1, 2019. That might sound like a huge number, but consider this: In the week ending April 12, 2019, the IRS received over 119 million tax returns.
What does that tell us? A vast majority of Americans wait until the last minute to file their taxes. Obviously, this can create a lot of last-minute stress to get everything over to the IRS by the April 15 deadline. By simply filing as early as possible, though, you'll not only avoid any eleventh-hour scrambles, but you'll take advantage of some other benefits that you might find even more beneficial.
The Benefits of Filing Your Taxes Early
- Getting your refund faster. Want your refund as fast as possible? The best way to make that happen is to file your tax return as soon as you have your documents. Employers are required to send W2s by January 31, so mark your calendar. If you don't receive your W2 by the deadline, talk to your HR department. Also, to expedite your refund, be sure to e-file with direct deposit.
- Preventing identity theft. Every year, fraudsters steal millions of dollars from people through tax scams. All a criminal needs to file a fraudulent tax return in your name is your Social Security number. Filing earlier means you can beat any criminal's nefarious efforts and significantly reduce your risk of being a victim of tax return identity theft.
- Allowing more time to pay. If you're getting a refund, great! If you know you're going to owe money, though, it's still ideal to file early. This will allow you to come up with the money to pay what you owe, and not have to worry about draining your savings or emergency fund.
- Ensuring easier access to a professional. If you opt to file using a tax professional, it's best to get the ball rolling early. Schedule an appointment as soon as you have your paperwork in order - ideally in February or earlier - to ensure you can make an appointment. Waiting until mid-March will most likely make it difficult to get on anyone's busy calendar. If you prefer to file your taxes yourself and want the assistance of a tax professional, you can save up to $20.00 by using the BECU discount with TurboTax with Live CPA help.
- Avoiding deadline stress. Like we mentioned above, the best way to beat tax deadline stress is to file early. According to taxslayer.com, 52 percent of Americans agree that the filing process is stressful. We recommend setting a personal deadline to get it done as early as possible; ideally just after you receive your W2s. You'll be happy to get it off your plate.
Got a tax-related question? Visit the BECU Tax Center for answers to frequently asked questions, information about filing deadlines, and more.
The above information is intended to provide generalized information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.