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Tax Filing Procrastination is Expensive!

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1040 Tax FormsDid you know that forty million people don’t file their taxes until the very last week (April 8th to 15th) before the tax filing deadline? I was astounded when I read that statistic. When you consider the average 2008 tax refund will be around $2,975, that’s $119,000,000,000 in refunds sitting in the Treasury until the very last minute. By waiting until the last week, you’re not saving yourself from dealing with taxes, we’re costing ourselves a lot of money!

Did you ever wonder why the tax deadline is April 15th? When the 16th Amendment was ratified by the states in 1913, March 1st was the date specified by Congress. In 1918, Congress pushed it to March 15th. In 1954, the date was pushed even farther back to April 15th. Many sites will cite a Fortune article, that has since been removed, as to the reasoning but many attribute the addition time to two reason: 1) The IRS has more time to handle the work as returns trickle in, and, 2) they get to hold onto your money just a little bit longer!

If you procrastinated this year, vow not to procrastinate next year because you’re letting the government hold onto your money for absolutely no reason!

All stats provided by the PR folks (MSL Worldwide) for TurboTax. They claim that it takes an average of two hours to complete a tax return, which is another reason you should file in February after you get all your forms!

(Photo: blmurch )

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11 Responses to “Tax Filing Procrastination is Expensive!”

  1. Brandon says:

    Is that average the average of all tax payers or the average of those receiving refunds?

    I wish there were stats that compared the average refund versus the average refund of only those who file in the last week. I imagine the average among late filers is lower because late filers are more likely to be ones who owe (which is really paradoxical since you can file at one point and pay at a later date).

  2. Fairy Dust says:

    I file our federal return early because we almost always have a refund coming. State, though, is almost always money due, so that return sits on my desk till the evening of 4/14 :)

  3. Gretchen says:

    As someone who owed taxes this year, I filed yesterday. That’s not to say that I didn’t have the “tax forms” ready (I file online), I just wait to see if I can figure out any other deductions. If you have it ready to go, filing is just a click away – but after the meltdown of one of the online filing sites a couple of years back, I don’t wait until the very last second!

    • Jim says:

      If you owe, that’s a different story, but I would imagine the vast majority get rebates and so waiting doesn’t help.

  4. FupDuckTV says:

    I’d be curious to see how many tax refund checks are never actually cashed. Any idea on this statistic?

  5. I’m just filing mine right now, I did a prelim run a few months ago and didn’t feel like finishing them up. I’m a procrastinator. I’m getting a small refund from the feds and I owe the state $100. I try to adjust my withholding so that the balance is zero at filing time, big refunds are a pet peeve of mine.

  6. We just received our refund checks yesterday, and we filed in February. They will pay for part of our vacation this year.

  7. Tim Hawkins says:

    Just another reason to set your withholdings accurately so you don’t over pay, and you don’t under pay. Then, the issue is irrelevant.

  8. Yana says:

    You’d think that the ones who have to pay would be waiting. I think people just hate to do their taxes. We pay, but I like getting it over with ASAP, so I do it as soon as I can.


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