Now that the IRS is accepting all tax returns, those who were delayed because of certain forms not being accepted (including myself) can now file their tax returns. This news couldn't come at a more welcome time, because there are now less than 40 days left to file your 2012 tax return.
If you still need extra motivation to start or finish the process of filing, here are the top five reasons to file your taxes right now:
- The tax season started two weeks later than usual, on January 30, as opposed to the traditional IRS opening date in mid-January. Even with the late start, this tax season still ends April 15 -- THAT DATE WILL NOT MOVE. There are still millions of taxpayers who have yet to file their returns, so tax offices expect a larger than normal rush on April 15 and the immediate days leading up to it. File now to beat the rush so you can sit back and watch others frantically try to file at the last minute.
- Filing now gives you time to determine what information you may be missing that will help you lower your taxes and increase any refund. There are so many possible deductions and credits; it's easy to forget some until you start doing your tax return. Starting your return now allows you time to review your records and determine what is missing to make sure you keep all the money you are rightfully entitled to.
- There's still time to put money in an IRA and help lower your taxes. Do you suspect you will owe money this year? If so, now is the time to do your taxes. Put up to $5,000 ($6,000 if age 50 or older) into a traditional IRA and potentially lower your taxable income for the 2012 tax year. Even if doing so still results in you having a balance due, at least you will have time to plan your payment without a big last minute hit on your budget. An important point too often missed is that if you owe taxes, filing now does not mean you have to pay now. If you file today and owe the IRS, your balance is still not due until April 15. Filing earlier will only make your life easier. More than 70 percent of taxpayers received a refund in 2011 so the odds are that you to be pleasantly surprised with a refund instead of the dreaded balance due!
- Get a head start on any changes you may need to make for next year. Did you owe this year, or was your refund smaller than you'd like it to be? If so, now is the time to make adjustments to your withholding, charitable contributions and retirement plan contributions for the 2013 tax year so your tax bill is lower when filing your tax return next year. The sooner you make these changes, the better. Be sure to consider upcoming life changes that may impact your return. Do you have a child who will become independent next year? Has a parent moved in with you? Will you be paying college tuition for yourself, spouse or a dependent? Are you planning a wedding or a divorce? Was 2012 your last year to claim a credit for child care expenses? All of these and more can affect your tax return next year, so do your taxes now and start your planning for 2013 early.
- Thinking of warm breezes and beaches or majestic mountains and beautiful vistas of your favorite vacation spot this summer? Start your vacation planning by doing your taxes now. The average Federal refund last year came in at just under $3,000. File your return now, and use your refund to prepay your vacation.
You also still have time to have your 2010 through 2012 (yes this year's) returns reviewed for accuracy for free at many tax preparers -- check into it with your favorite tax preparer.
In addition, taxpayers have until April 15, 2013 to file an amended return for 2010 and maybe get additional refund money back. The 2010 tax year will be closed for most taxpayers after April 15, 2013 So don't leave your money on the table! For all of these reasons and more, file now rather than later. You'll thank me.