Many people have the problem of procrastinating and putting things off until the very last
minute. Although this may work out for some things, it commonly leads to more problems in the
future, especially when it comes to financial issues. This also holds true for tax season when
many people end up procrastinating on filing their taxes on time. In order to avoid problems, you
should consider filing your tax returns earlier than the deadline, which is usually around April 15
each year.

Collecting necessary information

Regardless of whether or not you actually file your tax return early, it is best to at least begin
collecting the information and documents you need to complete your tax returns as soon as
possible. In this way, you can avoid scrambling around at the last minute to gather items such as
tax documents from your employer or receipts for deductions.

Receive your refund sooner

Those who look forward to their yearly refund from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) should
know that you can have your refund sent to you sooner if you file your tax returns early.

Avoid identity theft
When you file early there is less time for a criminal to use your identity fraudulently and take
your refund. This can cause all types of problems that could take many months to resolve.

Avoid making mistakes
Filing tax returns at the last minute can result in rushing to gather what you need to complete
the required tax forms. This can increase the chances of making a mistake on your forms. In
some cases, this may result in you being audited by the IRS due to inconsistencies or false
information on your return. You may end up paying penalties and fees that could have been
avoided if you were not in such a rush to make the deadline.

Avoid amended returns

When you make mistakes on your tax return and you notice them after you have already filed
your return you will need to file an amended return to correct these errors. Unfortunately, filing
amended returns does tend to increase the chances of being audited by the IRS.

Improved tax planning
If you start preparing for tax season ahead of time before it actually even starts you will be able
to make strategic decisions whether or not to shift some tax burdens to whatever year you think
is best for you. This could mean paying your property taxes, mortgage payments, or business
expenses at a different time than you normally would do if you were unaware of your tax liability

Develop an effective tax plan
Besides filing your tax returns in a timely manner, you should also develop a comprehensive tax
plan as soon as possible. This can help you take smart actions throughout the year that can
result in a lower tax bill. There could be many deductions that you did not realize you could take
which is basically leaving money on the table.

The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not
guarantee that it is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those
of RJFS or Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change
without notice. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will
prove to be correct.
Raymond James and its advisors do not offer tax or legal advice. You should discuss any tax or legal
matters with the appropriate professional.