NEW YORK (
) -- You should not rush to be the first taxpayers on your block to have your taxes done. Thanks to Congress, the processing of tax returns and issuing of refunds will be delayed this year -- so being early will not get your money to you any sooner.
Don't give your tax preparer your "stuff" until you have received all the forms and information needed to complete the returns! That means every W-2, every 1099 and every K-1.
On several occasions a client has come in to my office during the first days of the season to have his 1040 prepared, only to get another Form 1099 in the mail the day after the return was mailed to the IRS.
If you have a brokerage account there is an excellent chance you will get at least one, if not two, corrected "Consolidated 1099 Statements" to report taxable dividends, interest and gross proceeds after the initial statement arrives in February. The final corrected 1099 may not arrive until March.
But also don't wait until the last minute.
Many taxpayers who expect to owe will wait until the very last minute to get their "stuff" together to prepare their return. Even if you think you will owe taxes you should have the return prepared as soon as you have all the necessary information in hand. You don't have to actually file the returns and pay the tax until April 15.
By having your 1040 prepared early you will know exactly how much you owe and have a month or two to come up with the money, instead of running around trying to juggle funds days before the deadline.
Robert Flach has more than 40 years of experience as a tax professional and also blogs as
The Wandering Tax Pro.