According to a recent survey by TaxSlayer, approximately 52% of Americans are stressed about filing their taxes. Many of our thoughts may be, “What if I owe?” “How am I going to pay by the deadline?” These stressors are just a few of the many that plague taxpayers every year. Last year, 34 million Americans waited until the week before April 15th to file their taxes.
Luckily, there are many advantages to filing earlier rather than closer to the deadline.
Changes in Tax Laws and Forms
It’s important to be up to date on any changes the IRS may have made before filing. These changes may require extra time for important decisions as well as time to prep. Here are a few of the recent changes to pay attention to when filing:
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was introduced in 2018 and boils down to an important decision. Would it be better to take the standard deduction or to itemize? There are many components to (TCJA), and by starting your taxes early, you’ll have time to make this decision without stressing or perhaps decide to hire a tax preparer.
Remember the 1040 and 1040EZ forms? The IRS has done away with these, so be prepared to learn how to do your taxes on new forms.
With the 1040 form eliminated, the IRS has come up with a new form for seniors 65 and older or who will be 65 by April 15th. The form is called 1040-SR and is designed for seniors who previously used the 1040 form.
Sometimes we overlook or are simply unaware of new deductions introduced in the tax year. Maybe a friend or family member mentions it and you’re kicking yourself because you already filed. If you file early, you will have ample time to amend your return and get the money you deserve.
When We Find Out We Owe
We’ve all heard of extensions, right? Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply if you owe the IRS. The April 15th deadline is the last day you can pay without penalties. Filing early gives you time to plan how you will pay. You can also find out if you qualify for a payment plan with the IRS.
When We Expect a Refund
A lot of the time, taxpayers who expect refunds tend to be the ones who file earliest. However, even if you’re expecting a refund, when you start early, you have time to search for any and all deductions as well as tax credits to really maximize your refund.
The Biggest Reason to Get Started Early
Identity theft is a recurrent issue the IRS works hard to put a stop to. All it takes for a person to steal your identity and file in your name is gaining access to your social security number. If this happens to you, your only hope is that the IRS will flag the return and review it. According to the Federal Trade Commission, this is the third-most common type of identity theft. So what is the best way to protect yourself? Gather your documents, make any necessary appointments with Tax Pros, and file as early as possible.
If you are having issues with the IRS or you have questions about filing your taxes, you need the help of a professional. The attorneys at Dsouza and Strachan Legal Group have the expertise you need to get back on track. Contact Dsouza and Strachan today for a free consultation.