Benefits of Filing Your Tax Return Early

By Elizabeth Hannigan , last updated November 11, 2011

No one enjoys doing his taxes, but if you resist the urge to procrastinate you can enjoy the benefits of filing your tax return early. Every year, millions of Americans make a mad dash to the post office on April 15 to get their income taxes out at the last possible second before incurring fees, and you are probably no stranger to this frenzied rush. Filing your taxes on the day they are due can have drawbacks, though. Last minute filing is definitely the most stressful choice you can make, and it may even cost you money. This year, try filing in February and see whether planning ahead pays off.

Avoid Dread

Admit it. The only reason that you have been filing your taxes on the day they are due is that you dreaded doing them and put them off for as long as it was possible. Doing your taxes on April 15 certainly did not make them any easier than doing them on February 15. In fact, you probably felt more stress and pressure under the tight deadline. You probably also dwelled upon how unpleasant your taxes would be in the weeks leading up to their due date. If you could just get over your aversion to your taxes and finish them early, you would not have to spend two or three months thinking about how much you hate doing them.

Make Fewer Mistakes

If you really are one of those Americans who is scribbling furiously into his tax forms on the morning of April 15, chances are that you have made some mistakes in the past. Filling out your income tax forms can be complicated, and you are more likely to make mistakes if you do not allow yourself time to read the instructions and double proof your work. You are also more likely to lose your W-2s or other important documents if you postpone filling out your taxes. If you screw up bad enough, you may be forced to do your taxes a second time. No one wants to do that. Even if you do get your taxes filled out correctly, there is a chance that if you wait until the last minute some sort of emergency will come up before you can send them off, resulting in a late filing fee. If you fill your taxes out a week early, you can double check them to make sure that they are accurate before you send them and you will never have to worry about getting to the post office on time.

Save Money

People who are going to owe money have the biggest reason to fill out their taxes early. If you have a feeling that you are going to have to send Uncle Sam a check, doing your taxes early will give you time to find a low cost loan if you don't already have the cash on hand. Lots of people who wait until the last minute to file their taxes get stuck taking out last minute loans with huge interest rates.

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