No time like the present.
Doing your taxes is probably one of the least fun parts of being an adult. Thankfully, it is a lot easier to file them these days than it was fifty years ago; there are plenty of free tax-filing services online if your return isn’t too complicated, and if you’re unsure, there are professionals you can visit to lend you a helping hand. Considering all of these helpful advancements, though, one has to wonder why so many people still leave their return to the last minute. If you’ve got your W-2 and any other relevant documentation locked and loaded, there’s no reason to beat around the bush. In fact, there are several reasons not to beat around the bush.
If you file your return as early as possible (which is right around now, usually), you have more time to look it over carefully. This isn’t something you want to approach halfheartedly, because a screw-up means an IRS audit, and that’s a pain for everyone involved. If you need to use a tax prepper service to help you out, it’s better to get an appointment in February. They get busier as the deadline approaches, which means you could find yourself without an available slot.
What may be the most important benefit to early filing, though, is simply the extra time. If you know for a fact that you’re going to have to make a payment, you’ll have more time to make sure the money’s together before you actually need it. Money can fluctuate, doubly so under pressure, so it’s definitely helpful to be able to set aside your payments well in advance.
So, with all that in mind, stop dragging your feet and go get that return filed. I just filed mine over the weekend. I didn’t particularly enjoy doing it, but now it’s safely out of the way, and I won’t have to muscle my way through a post office crowd to file it in April.