First Time Filers: How to Leave the Procrastination Station

Tax Planning A healthier approach to the writer's life: black coffee, pencil, e-cigarette and a blank page.

Are you delaying filing your income tax return? Are you maybe hoping it’ll just go away? You may be waiting to start your taxes like some taxpayers.

Sadly, it won’t, but the sooner you finish your taxes, the sooner you can leave the procrastination station and get on with the rest of your life. Plus, last tax season close to 75% of taxpayers received a direct deposit tax refund of over $3,000.

Here are a few reasons people procrastinate in preparing their taxes, why they shouldn’t, and how to workaround the perceived need to delay.

Procrastination is Your Way of Life

For some people, procrastination is a bad habit they’ve adopted. Filing your income taxes isn’t really the obstacle, however putting off obligations may be how you operate.

Workaround: This is really a mindset more than anything else, so there’s no scientific solution, but it may help to realize that once you get your income taxes filed, you don’t have to worry about it anymore. You’ll put it behind you, and have one less task you need to procrastinate about. Filing with TurboTax makes filing easy and asks simple questions about you and gives you the tax deductions and credits you’re eligible for based on your answers.

There could also be a more tangible motivation if you are getting a refund because the sooner you file the sooner you will get your tax refund. The IRS states that they will issue nine out of 10 tax refunds in 21 days or less of acceptance with e-file and direct deposit. If you owe money and file earlier you can have time to figure out how to pay what you owe or still lower your tax liability by contributing to your IRA for 2018.

Fear of Preparing Your Taxes

Some people have an unnatural fear of preparing their taxes. Maybe you fear it’s too complicated, maybe you fear of dealing with the IRS, or maybe it’s your first time and you’re afraid of messing it up.

Workaround: If you have these fears, don’t worry TurboTax has you covered.  TurboTax ask you simple questions about you and gives you the tax deductions and credits you’re eligible for based on your answers. If you still have questions you can connect to a TurboTax Live CPA or Enrolled Agent to get your tax questions answered. A TurboTax Live CPA or Enrolled Agent can even review, sign and file your tax return.

You Don’t Like Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

Unless you are a professional tax preparer, you probably only prepare a tax return once each year – your own. You spend the other 364 days forgetting how it went, and stepping up to do your return can take you out of your comfort zone.

Workaround: TurboTax can make the process a lot more comfortable. You don’t have to have an extensive tax knowledge, and you don’t even have to know about recent tax changes. They’re all built into the tax program, which will handle everything for you. And once the job is done, you’ll be free to go back into your comfort zone.

You Owe Money – Or Expect You Will

This is a perfectly legitimate concern, but the more you delay filing, the more you may owe because the IRS imposes penalties for late filing when you owe money.

Workaround: This is, unfortunately, a situation that is best dealt with immediately. The best strategy is to determine what your tax liability will be so you can come up with a strategy to pay or make a final tax move and invest in your 2017 IRA so you can reduce your tax liability.

If the balance due is more than you have available, you can always set up an installment plan with the IRS. There will the penalties and interest imposed on the balance due, but you’ll be given up to 72 months to pay off the balance.

That won’t make the problem go away, but it will certainly make it easier to manage. You’ll overcome your fear of filing by accepting a small monthly payment in exchange.

There’s Something on Your Tax Return that You’re Unsure of

This is another legitimate reason you may procrastinate filing your tax return.

Workaround: This is one of those situations where you can connect live to a TurboTax Live CPA or Enrolled Agent to get your tax questions answered. A TurboTax Live CPA or Enrolled Agent can also review, sign, and file your tax return.

Procrastination won’t help you get your taxes done and get closer to your tax refund. That’s why you need to leave the procrastination station as soon as possible.

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