The early bird gets the worm. I’m currently working on stuff for one of my classes that isn’t due until we have to be at class the week of the 16th. Granted, some of these things will take a lot of time, but I like to get it all out of the way so that I don’t have to worry about it later.
I’m the same way with taxes. As soon as I have everything I need, I like to get them all done and over with. Here are some times that you should… and shouldn’t… file early!
- If you’re a college kid or the parent of a college kid: File early! Getting your FASFA done early is a good thing, because you can get scholarships and other grants that are on a first come, first serve basis.
- When you have to pay taxes: Wait on it a bit. Just like if you’re getting money back, why should the government collect interest on your payment when you could be getting it in your bank account?
- If you know that you’re getting money back: File early! Well, yeah! If you know that you’re going to get money back, you should file as quickly as you can! Why should the government get to collect interest on the money that they’ve already “borrowed” from you because you paid too much on your taxes?
- When you itemize or may have to deal with other complicated circumstances: File early! With these kinds of things, the earlier you start the better. It prevents errors, you can see a professional if you need to, and you can take the time to double and triple check your work.
- If you think you’ll just rush through them: Take your time! Don’t just get it done. Be diligent; make sure that you are including everything you are entitled to, and take your time.
- When you think you’re going to forget: Just get them out of the way! This is why I file early. I know if I don’t do it immediately, I will totally and completely forget to do it at all.
- When you are still waiting on your W2’s: Wait for them! Don’t ever use your last pay stub to do your taxes. Things can change in between your last pay stub and your W2, especially if your employer forgot to take things out or if they discover that they took too much out. Obviously, by now, you should have your W2′s, but the point remains. Wait till they’re in your hands.
- When you know the post office will be a madhouse: The earlier the better! Yes, as it gets closer to April 15th, the post office becomes a crazy place. You don’t have to worry about this if you are filing electronically, but if you are planning to use the mail, make sure you do it sooner than later.
Are you done with your taxes? You only have a couple more weeks, but these guidelines can help you figure out the best time to do them next year! Have a great week, we’ll see you here next week!