More and more taxpayers are waiting until the last minute to file their tax returns. The IRS has contributed to this phenomena, postponing e-file acceptance until the end of January. Taxpayers who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit and certain other credits will have their refund placed on hold until mid-February while the IRS implements fraud prevention measures. Some taxpayers have no choice to delay filing their tax returns because they’re awaiting critical investment documents or wage statements.

Despite the delays, there are several reasons why taxpayers should engage their tax preparer early in the tax season:

· Tax professionals encourage filers to come in early with discounts and other incentives. If you are looking for a deal, the best time to have your taxes prepared is early in the season.

· There is no need to postpone the visit to your tax professional if you are waiting on a few important documents. Your tax professional can begin working on your tax return with the items you have now. He or she can have everything ready to file when you receive that stray 1099 in mid-March. Bring your documents in now, and enjoy the savings mentioned above.

· More often than not, your tax professional will recognize missing items that will allow you to take further deductions or credits. Some of these documents may take additional time for you to gather. Your tax professional can help you get ahead of the game now, so you can still file on time. While you wait, he or she can work with the documents you do have to get your return ready for filing.

· Avoid the lines. As the tax season gets closer to April 15th, the lines get longer. Avoid the rush and the lines by visiting your tax professional early in the season.

· Give yourself a buffer. Life is full of surprises. The IRS is unforgiving of life’s uncertainties. Cars break down, kids get sick, documents get lost. Don’t wait until April to allow life to throw you a curve ball. Last minute taxes result in unnecessary last-minute panic. Reduce the stress and begin now.

If all else fails and you need additional time to file your taxes, it is easy to request an automatic six-month extension.[2] If you need help with your taxes, don’t delay. Your tax professional should help you take all of the deductions permitted by law, and help you plan for more tax savings the following year.