Now that the tax extension deadline has passed, it is both necessary and inevitable for us to talk about procrastination again. And look, I'm even doing it immediately this week, only a matter of hours after the deadline has passed just to help prove the point.
Without fail, we hear from people hours before deadlines come up. Some of them are in a complete panic where the weight of the time crunch crashes down all at once because it has become impossible to ignore any longer. It is difficult to offer a lot of solace to those people because, well, it is a self-inflicted wound.
And then there are others who seem really cool with it and just expect that uploading their documents at noon on the day of a deadline is still plenty of time to get things completed. And sure, if you were tackling it all alone, that could be very true. But when you are relying on the services of others, that just puts you at the end of a line that is already longer than it should be (you know, behind those who procrastinated just a little less.)
I know that no matter how much I put up blogs like this, it is never going to result in everyone getting their paperwork together in plenty of time to make this deadline tightrope go away. Frankly, it shouldn't ever really go away, for there will always be people with legitimate reasons (be they personal or the fault of others not coming through) as to why they were waiting to complete the process. But for those who could have avoided the issues, it just makes so much sense to avoid it next go-round.
First off, if you just went through that yourself, imagine how much nicer that time could have been if you did not have to sit through that worry. Instead, you could have had the satisfaction of getting a job done. And if you had actual concerns about what the outcome of your tax return would be, it didn't change by waiting. In fact, if you did owe an amount of money that you were worried about, you only increased the interest you are paying on it by waiting.
And then second, you actually give yourself a chance at a better final outcome on your return if you start the process earlier. Whether it be a possible credit that could be investigated or digging up a few more receipts, that final number can shift a bit toward the positive side for you if the need to just ship it out fast is removed.
So hold onto those ideas if you can. After all, we are now only six months away from the real tax deadline next year.
To ensure we don't make the folks at the IRS ornery, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.