If you’re one of the 30 million Americans who wait until the last two weeks before the tax deadline to file your return, we get it.

Filing taxes is not something most people enjoy. It can be overwhelming. It’s human nature to put off the things we don’t like to do, so, understandably, taxes are something you might want to put off until the last minute. However, there are many good reasons to file your taxes early, especially this year. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, signed into law to help people during the pandemic, there are substantial beneficial changes to this year’s taxes. Some of those changes could help taxpayers who do their taxes earlier in the season.

7 Reasons to File Your Taxes Early

While the official 2022 filing deadline isn’t until April 18 (we get three extra days this year), if you’re due a refund, you’ll want to get your return in well before this deadline.

  1. Receive Your Refund Faster

    If you’re due a refund, the earlier you file, the faster you’ll receive your refund. Your filing will go more quickly if you have all the documents ready.

  2. Receive a Larger Refund

    Speaking of refunds, we’re not making any promises but keep in mind that IRS data shows that taxpayers who file by late February get significantly larger refunds than those who file later—around $200 on average. One reason may be that you’re claiming all the tax deductions and tax credits you can by starting your taxes early, which takes more time and documentation than a standard deduction.

    Important note: a tax refund is not free money. Getting a large refund from the IRS just means you’ve been lending the government your money (without interest) all year long. Uncle Sam is just returning what’s already yours! If your refund is more than a few hundred dollars, you should adjust your tax withholdings. Ideally, you want to have a tax refund as close to zero as possible, which increases your take-home pay. Think of it as getting a raise!

  3. Avoid Processing Delays

    The pandemic put a strain on the IRS workforce, which is still causing slowdowns to this day – another good reason it pays to get ahead on your taxes.

    During the first half of 2021, the IRS had fewer than 15,000 workers available to handle 240 million incoming calls. That amounts to one IRS employee per 16,000 inquiries. As a result, only 7% of taxpayers were able to connect with an IRS agent with questions during the 2021 tax filing season. As of December 2021, the IRS had 8.6 million regular and amended tax returns to process.

  4. You’re Missing Your Full Stimulus Check

    If you didn’t get your stimulus check, or received less than you should have (because you had a child in 2021 for instance), you can receive your full payment by claiming the recovery rebate credit on your tax return. Like any refund, the sooner you file your tax return, the earlier you will receive the stimulus money you’re owed.

    If you can’t remember how much you got for the third check, look at the letter the IRS sent you earlier this year (Notice 1444-C) or Letter 6475, which the IRS mailed in early 2022.

  5. You Benefited from the Advance Child Tax Credit

    When you file your income tax return, you’ll get the other half of the advance Child Tax Credit (if you took advantage of the advance payments).

    Remember: If you received the advance Child Tax Credit payments that were expanded as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, you only received half of your total 2021 Child Tax Credit. Otherwise, you will receive the full amount when you file this year.

  6. Extra Time to Pay Your Tax Bill

    If you owe income tax it’s probably something you would like to put off as long as possible. By filing your return early, you’ll have more time to pay your bill or make the necessary payment arrangements so you can avoid owing late penalties and interest on outstanding debt.

    Important! You have until the tax deadline (April 18, 2022) to pay the amount you owe. However, if you cannot pay the entire balance by the deadline, the IRS offers various repayment options. 

  7. Protect Your Refund from Identity Thieves

    If thieves use your Social Security number and file a return before you do, the IRS will kick out your real return since their records show you’ve already been paid.

    Imagine it: You’re feeling good about finishing your taxes, and then when you click submit, your return is rejected! It turns out that someone using your Social Security number already filed a tax return, and you’re now a victim of tax refund fraud. Unfortunately, you likely won’t know someone stole your SSN until you try to file your tax return. If this happens, you may be in for months of trying to clear up the mess with the IRS before you finally receive your refund. Unfortunately, tax refund fraud happens more often than you think. For example, between 2015 and 2019, the IRS stopped online tax fraudsters from stealing $26 billion through identity theft tax refund fraud. But unfortunately, billions still ended up in the hands of these thieves.  

With so many good reasons to file your taxes early . . . why wait?

If you’re a working individual in Philadelphia, Montgomery County, and Southern New Jersey, CWF can provide you with free professional tax prep. An IRS-certified CWF tax preparer will help you eliminate the stress that comes with taxes and make sure you get the tax refund you deserve…it’s free!™