4 Reasons I’m Happy to Wait Until the Last Minute to File My Taxes


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  • My taxes have gotten more complicated, and the best way to deal with that is to give them more time.
  • It’s nice to have a buffer at the beginning of the year before I have to pay my accountant.
  • I’ve never needed to so far, but I know that I can always file an extension if I really need more time.

I usually file taxes in late March or early April, and I know I’m not alone. In fact, last year, around a quarter of Americans filed their taxes in the last two weeks.

I used to feel behind when I’d hear my family and friends talk about filing their taxes in early February. Now I actually prefer to file later for several reasons.

We all get several months before taxes are due for a reason. Even so, I’ve spoken with accountants who encourage people to request an extension if they need to, which is also very reassuring. There may be some downsides to filing taxes later or close to the deadline. However, I prefer it for four main reasons.

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1. My tax situation has gotten more complex

My tax situation has gotten way more complex over the years. When I was a young adult, I could file a 1040EZ or just have one or two W2 forms. Now, I’m married with a child, a freelance business, investments, and (until recently) a mortgage.

It takes my husband and me a lot longer to gather our documents and get organized. Sometimes we’re waiting on items to be mailed in or need to follow up on giving statements we need and so on.

Naturally, I’m not interested in rushing at the beginning of the year to do all these things. In January, we are usually recovering from the holidays and setting intentions for the year. I appreciate having the time to shift our focus to taxes later on.

2. I’m less likely to make a mistake

Rushing through the filing process to file earlier also puts my husband and me at risk of making more mistakes. I don’t like the idea of getting audited or having any tax issues.

So I’d much rather slow down and triple-check our situation before filing our tax return. A few years ago, I had to learn this the hard way when we filed taxes too soon and had to submit an amended return.

For some reason, both my husband and I forgot to submit his student loan interest form. By the time we realized we had forgotten to add the document, we had already submitted our tax forms to the IRS. I had to talk to my accountant about filing an amendment.

The amendment process was really easy and straightforward. It just took us a much longer time to receive our small tax refund that year.

Now, my husband and I both try to sit down and discuss specific things we’ll need and create a checklist before we file. We also look at last year’s returns to confirm we have all the necessary documents to file.

3. I get extra time to pay my accountant

Filing later in March or even early April also gives me extra time to gather the money to pay my accountant who files our taxes every year. We usually don’t get a tax refund, and if we do it’s small, so I never count on it.

Since our situation is more complex now, that means we expect to pay more to file our taxes. Early in the year, we like to start setting aside money for tax preparation fees, and again, I don’t feel rushed since we tend to file later.

4. There’s always the option to request an extension

I haven’t needed to yet, but I have peace of mind knowing that I can always request a filing extension if I have to. Regardless of your income, the IRS allows you to request a filing extension giving you an extra six months to file your return.

This option is readily available should I ever need it, and there’s nothing to feel bad about if I fall behind when preparing to file taxes.

If you’re thinking about requesting an extension, you should know that it’s not an extension to pay your taxes — you’re just getting extra time to file a return.

Filing taxes is something you can’t really rush. Knowing that there’s lots of time to file and even an extension if available if needed puts me at ease so I can pace myself during this time of year instead of getting overwhelmed.


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