Every year taxpayers creep and cringe to the mailbox, and now to the Internet, to file their taxes by the federal deadline, April 15. However, some taxpayers can’t wait to file and want to get their paperwork in to the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, as soon as possible. Because the tax year for most taxpayers matches the calendar year, the earliest filing date must be after the related tax year ends.

Prerequisites

While January 1 of a calendar year represents in theory the earliest taxes can be filed, the actual earliest date depends on a person’s individual tax situation. Tax forms technically cannot be sent into the IRS until they include all the required supporting forms. For those who work and earn a paycheck, this includes W-2 forms, 1099 statements for interest and other income, and any schedules required.

Timing

Because employers and paying parties have until January 31 of a following year to file W-2 and 1099 income forms, a taxpayer filing early is unlikely to get her taxes in prior to the first week of February. In addition, the IRS has a date in late January which is the first day they will accept electronically filed returns.

Speedy Filing

Tax filing time delay can be cut down by filing taxes electronically. Both tax software programs and the IRS provide means to file taxes electronically. Further, tax refunds are paid much faster when filings are made electronically.

Warnings

Make sure you have received all your W-2s, 1099s and 1098 forms before filing your tax return. If you file too early and forget to include some income, you will have to file an amended return.