Experts: Get your documents together and file your taxes as soon as possible

Starting the process will let you know if you will owe money or will help you get your tax refund sooner
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Updated: Feb. 23, 2021 at 4:16 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty with filing taxes this year, and the pandemic has certainly complicated things. People may have lost or started new jobs or gotten unemployed.

“We actually found last year even with the delay in the deadline last year the extension, that 11% of Americans still filed late. Part of the issue here is that people often don’t know how much they’ll owe and they’re worried it will be more than they can afford,” Kim Palmer, a personal finance expert with NerdWallet, said.

But Palmer says even if you are afraid that you are going to owe taxes this year, don’t ignore filing.

“It is always a good idea to get your paperwork together as soon as possible and to file on the early side. First of all, if you do have a refund, and about half of Americans are expecting a refund, you will get that refund more quickly. If you owe money, even if you get everything organized and filed and sorted out ahead of time, you still don’t have to pay until April 15,” Palmer adds.

Filing early also helps you to elude the fraudsters. There are a growing number of people who try to file fake tax returns each year and essentially steal your refund.

Palmer says there’s one more big reason to file as soon as possible.

“If you are really eager to get your refund early, you should file online because filing your taxes digitally also speeds up that process. You can get the money deposited right into your checking account. You don’t have to wait for the mail,” Palmer said.

Finally, this is a question we’ve seen a lot lately. ‘I’m working from home now, can I deduct my home office expenses?’

“It’s really important to know that employees are not eligible for that deduction. So, you have to be an independent contractor or freelancer working for yourself, in order to take those home office deductions,” Palmer said.

If you are looking for ways to use that refund, remember, starting an emergency fund or paying off debt like credit cards is a good start.

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