While taxpayers have until April 17 of this year to file their federal income tax returns, it isn’t in their best interest to wait to do so. Despite, if you are expecting a refund or will owe a balance, filing early is always better than filing later. While many Americans rush to file in April, there are many benefits and reasons why you shouldn’t wait till the last minute.
Here’s why “The early bird catches the worm” applies to filing your taxes as well.
You’ll Receive A Faster Tax Refund - And Maybe Even A Bigger One
One of the biggest reasons to file early is you will receive a faster tax refund. As soon as you receive your W-2 and you check it over for mistakes, you can file your return. The IRS issues about 90 percent of refunds in less than 21 days, an even faster way to receive your refund is to e-file and have the money deposited directly into your bank account. Early filers also tend to get larger refunds. This is attributed to the fact that those who get a head start on their taxes have more time to be thorough that they claimed all the deductions that they are eligible for. Most taxpayers cut corners by claiming standard deduction instead of itemizing their deductions. It may take having some patience and require more documentation, but in the long-run, it could result in a larger tax-refund check.
Not Filing Early Can Leave You Exposed
Identity theft has increased over the past few years, especially due to the breaches such as the Equifax Data Breach of 2017. While filing your returns early does not mean eliminating identity theft completely, it can help protect your refund and potentially catch those who have stolen your information. Refund theft happens when scammers use your social security number to receive your refund. The IRS will then have you marked as being paid. Subsequently, when you go to file the real refund, the IRS will reject your return, and it may take months for the issue to be resolved. Filing your taxes early can help deter identity theft.
You Have More Time to Financially Prepare In Case You Owe
If you expect to owe on your taxes, filing early will allow you more time to allocate funds to pay the IRS. Last minute filers may have to greatly tighten their budget, dip into savings, or even their emergency fund to pay what they owe which can negatively affect their financial stability. If you owe a decent amount of money, budgeting ahead of time can make all of the difference because your tax bill can collect interest and penalties if you are charged for a late payment.
The longer you wait, the more of a rush it becomes to submit your return and this can create unnecessary stress. Being in a hurry can lead you to make mistakes or forget to claim some of your deductions which may put a strain on you financially. Getting your taxes filed sooner means getting it out of the way and not having to stress over it. Additionally, the closer it gets to the tax deadline, the busier accountants get. Unfortunately, taxpayers learn the hard-way to set up their appointments early because they end up having to file for an extension or need to pay more money to be squeezed into the tax professional’s busy schedule.
Photo Courtesy of MoneyManagement
Don’t drag your feet when it comes to filing your taxes! As soon as you have all the necessary information and financial documentation, it’s in your best interest to move the process along as quickly as possible.
It isn't always easy to stay on top of your finances, especially when you have developed unhealthy spending habits over the years. However, as you begin to realize the many benefits of having healthy finances, it can become something you want to make a conscious effort to improve. When your finances are in a good place, you often have access to better opportunities whether it be a mortgage loan, greater credit line or business loan. On that note, here is how you can become an expert at managing your finances in case you need a few tips.
Learn to Use Technology
The good thing about managing finances in the technological age is that you don't have to do it alone. There are so many apps available that will help you pay bills on time and track your expenses. For instance, some apps force you to live within your actual income and tell you what to do when you need to balance your budget.
If you need an app that will help you get better at saving, then some will set aside your spare change for you. Also, don't be afraid to use more simple tools such as your smartphone calendar to set reminders about payments if you don't automate them.
Seek Legal Advice
Sometimes, being an expert at something means understanding that you can't possibly know it all. This is why you have professionals around you that can help fill in the gaps where you're lacking. Consider hiring a legal firm to help with any challenges that are beyond you. Lexington Law is a good firm as they could help remove negative items from your credit report. Read this Lexington Law Review (Our #1 Credit Repair Service of 2019) to find out more about how they could help improve your finances.
You can't do better than what you know when it comes to managing finances. You should, therefore, invest your time in learning more about finances and how to manage them. Think about what your goals for your finances are and what knowledge gaps you need to fill.
For example, if you want to invest in the stock market so that you can improve your net worth, then you may need to learn more about investing to do so successfully. To boost your knowledge, try reading articles on credible blogs that share finance information from professionals. Also, be weary of content from finance-driven companies as it could be biased.
Work on Growing Your Income
As a self-proclaimed finance guru, you know that the more sources of income that you have, the better. Work on increasing your streams of income so that you have more money to meet your targets whether it's to save for a property or put larger sums towards retirement. One way to do so would be by getting extra income by doing social media marketing for businesses or creating tutorials on YouTube. If you own a property, renting out rooms is a great way to make passive income.
Live Within Your Means
It can be difficult to live within your means when you live in a society that is always presenting you with things to buy. However, being more conscious about the things that you purchase could help you realize that most are wants rather than needs. To live within your means, always take time to think about a purchase as opposed to impulse spending. You should always get good at bargain hunting as many times you can find items of similar quality at a cheaper price.
Learn How to Manage Debt
Debt doesn't have to be a bad thing if you understand how it works and how to manage it. It can be a tool for credit building when you understand the fundamentals. For instance, if you take out a loan or credit card, always be mindful of your interest rates.
By paying the amount of money you borrowed back in full before the due date, you won't have to pay interest on what you borrowed. If you can't pay back in full, paying more than the minimum payment will ensure you incur less interest. For the most part, the secret to good debt management is never spending more than you can afford to pay back.
Managing finances is a life skill that can help improve your quality of life. By following the mentioned tips and taking your finances more seriously, you're more likely to master the art of healthy finances.