Although the federal filing season doesn’t end until April 18 this year, you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to submit your 2022 income tax return.
Most taxpayers have received their reporting forms by this point in the season and are therefore able to file their return. So there’s no need to delay. What’s more, there are numerous advantages to filing sooner than later — perhaps including some you hadn’t even considered.
Follow are reasons why you should get your return completed now.
It’s easier to find help
Whether you file your return online using tax software, see a tax professional or get your taxes done through a free program, more appointments are likely to be available now than if you wait until March or April.
You’re less likely to make mistakes
Preparing your taxes is tough enough, and recent changes to federal tax laws mean your 2022 return might be more complicated than usual.
By starting your return now, you’ll have time to find any missing information or documents to claim every credit and deduction you are eligible for. Plus, you won’t have to rush the process of preparing your return, lowering the chances that you’ll make a mistake — which could hold up your refund or even cause the IRS to scrutinize your return.
Even if a tax pro does your return for you, they are less likely to be stressed or rushed — and thus less likely to make a mistake — right now compared with later in the season.
You’ll get your refund sooner
Typically, you will receive your federal refund in less than 21 days if you file electronically, but the clock doesn’t start ticking until you actually file your return. So the sooner you file, the sooner you stand to receive your refund.
The same goes for tracking your refund online using the IRS’ free “Where’s My Refund?” tool: You can start using it to check the status of your refund for the 2022 tax year 24 hours after you e-file. So the sooner you file your return, the sooner you can start tracking your refund.
You’ll beat crooks to your refund
Access to personal identifying information like your name, Social Security number and date of birth can be enough information for a crook to file a fraudulent tax return in your name, pretending to be you so they can redirect your refund to their own bank account. If that happens, you may have to wait months for the identity theft to be resolved.
But the sooner you file your return and receive your refund, the less time a crook has to try to steal it.
You’ll have more time to pay what you owe
The sooner you complete your return, the sooner you will find out whether you owe taxes for 2022 — and if so, how much.
If you do end with a tax bill, filing sooner than later also means you will have more time to pay the balance. That’s because you have until April 18 to pay any taxes due, regardless of whether you filed your return on the first day of the season or the last day or anytime in between.
So say you filed your return on Feb. 18: You’d have two months to come up with the money. But wait until April 18 to file and you’ll have just a matter of hours, if that.
You’ll save money
If you wait until the last minute to prepare your return and the process ends up being more complex or time-consuming than you anticipated, there’s a good chance you’d have to request an extension. That would give you until Oct. 16, 2023, to file your 2022 return. But again, the IRS only gives taxpayers until Tax Day to pay any taxes due, even if they requested an extension. So after April 18, you could owe interest and penalties for failure to pay your 2022 tax bill on time.
If you need more time to pay, you might be eligible for a payment plan, but that could cost you, too. There’s a fee for setting up a long-term IRS installment plan, and signing up for a short- or long-term plan means you still will owe applicable interest and penalties until the balance is paid in full.