Why You Need to Do Your Taxes Early

For One, You’ll Get Money Back Sooner

An illustration depicting people taking on a variety of personal finance tasks.

The Balance

Figuring out how much you owe at tax time and deciding whether you need help from a tax professional isn’t easy. Maybe that’s why so many of us procrastinate. But nailing all this down can take some time, so it’s best to start early.

The Benefits of Doing Your Taxes Early

What do you gain by filing early?

You’ll Get Your Money Sooner

If nothing else, by filing early you’ll give yourself plenty of time to make sure you’ve claimed every tax benefit you’re entitled to if you start early. And if you owe money? You’ll have more time to save up or figure out how to get your hands on it if it turns out you owe money. 

You’ll Have More Tax Help Provider Options

You may have an easier time finding a tax professional if you decide that you’re in over your head with all these calculations. Their calendars start filling up in March, increasing incrementally from there until the April 15 filing deadline.

You’ll Enjoy Identity Theft Protection

Submitting your tax return to the IRS as early as possible offers protection, too: You might thwart would-be identity thieves. They sometimes file using someone else’s Social Security number in an effort to grab that refund for themselves. Later, the rightful Social Security number owner files their return, only to have it declined by the IRS because someone has already used it. The IRS accepts only one return per Social Security number per year. 

You Can Plan for Next Year's Taxes

Once your taxes are done you'll know if you're getting a refund, or if you are paying up. If you finish early in the year, you can adjust your withholding with your employer and have plenty of time for those changes to take effect.

So, what are you waiting for? 

Next Steps and More Resources

You might need professional help with preparing your return because each tax year tends to bring key tax changes with it. The next step is to understand what’s changed for this year so you can get an early jump on filing for the 2020 tax year.