Friday, 24 March 2023
by Earn Media
There are certain tasks in life we tend to procrastinate on, like dealing with piled-up laundry. Filing taxes might fall into that category for you, and if so, you wouldn’t be alone.
If you’ve put off your tax filing so far, the good news is that the April 18 deadline to submit your return is still a few weeks away. So there’s time to complete your return without being late.
But one thing you don’t want to do, says Mark Steber, Chief Tax Information Officer at Jackson Hewitt, is rush through the process of getting your taxes done. Doing so could have several negative consequences.
When you’re nearing the tax-filing deadline, it’s easy to see why you may be inclined to try to get your return completed as quickly as you can. But that could cause you to make a mistake and land yourself on the IRS audit list.
If you rush through your tax filing, says Steber, you might forget to report income you earned in your brokerage account. Or, you might forget to report the $1,200 you earned via one of your side hustles. But any time the IRS receives word of income you collected that isn’t acknowledged on your taxes, it opens the door to a closer look at your return.
Another big problem with rushing through your taxes is that you might miss out on credits or deductions that result in savings, or a lower tax bill.
“People are often committed to getting their taxes done quickly, but it sometimes comes at the cost of accuracy,” says Steber. And this year, missing out on tax breaks is especially problematic because, as he puts it, “every refund dollar counts.”
Right now, many people are struggling to keep up with their living costs due to inflation. And so the last thing you’d want to do is deny yourself an extra $100 here or $200 there due to rushing through your taxes.
Also, Steber says that filers are already seeing smaller refunds this year than last year. That’s because there were many tax breaks put into place for 2021 that did not get extended into 2022. Since refunds are down as a whole, now’s not the time to be careless and risk shorting yourself money.
If you’ve put off your taxes to this point, do realize, says Steber, that it may still be possible to line up help if you need it. You may not get your first choice, since sought-after tax preparers may be booked solid at this point, but it’s worth asking around.
Another thing you should know is that if you can’t complete your tax return by the April 18 filing deadline without rushing through it, you can always request an automatic six-month extension from the IRS and buy yourself more time to get it done. That may be preferable to rushing the process and risking a big mistake.
But if you’re going to get an extension, be aware that all that does is give you more time to file your actual return. “It’s not an extension of time to pay,” says Steber, so if you owe the IRS money, failing to pay your tax bill in full by April 18 will result in penalties and interest.
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