File Your Taxes Early This Year

Photo: Natalie Behring/Getty Images

Tax season officially starts Jan. 28, and experts are advising people to start filing early this year if they don’t want their refund delayed.

The reason is two-fold: For one, the government is still shut down, and while the IRS is requiring workers to come to work and process returns without being paid (if you want to help federal workers out, check out this article), it’s very likely that things will be delayed. If you need help from or need to contact the IRS for an issue, especially, don’t expect a timely response.

“If the IRS falls behind schedule due to the shutdown, you don’t want your return at the back of a potentially massive backlog,” writes Kiplinger.

The larger reason, though, is that this is the first year most provisions from the 2017 tax law will take effect. Combined with the shut down, it’s a perfect storm for delayed refunds and tax headaches.

If you need to see a CPA, you’ll want to do that as soon as you receive your tax forms. While tax professionals have no doubt been preparing for the season, it’s still the first time they’ll be working with the new law and its numerous changes to past law. Not to mention it’s the first year filers will be using the new “postcard-sized” Form 1040.

“The October 2013 shutdown caused a lot of angst for practitioners,” Edward Karl, vice president of taxation at the American Institute of CPAs, told CNBC. “If there were some issue and you needed to contact the IRS, you couldn’t get them.”

Additionally, anti-fraud provisions went into effect last year for those claiming the earned income tax credit or the child tax credit, which delayed refunds until mid-February. Add on the other two obstacles, and there could be a longer wait to receive a refund.

To be clear, you’ll get your refund eventually. But if you’re planning on using that money for something (even it’s squirreling it away in a savings account), you’ll want it as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the last minute to file this year.

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram