LUBBOCK, Texas – If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, don’t feel too bad because you and about 100 million others are in the same boat. Tax Day might seem far away, but in reality, there are less than six weeks to send in your tax returns. 

“Taxes are complicated,” said Mark Steber, chief tax information officer at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service. “It’s your single largest financial transaction. It encompasses everything that you do from an earnings perspective, and even a life changes perspective.”

While many Americans are used to the typical April 15 deadline, Tax Day this year falls on April 18.

“A lot of people think they can do their taxes at the last minute, either themselves, or they’ll just pop right into an office and get it done,” Steber said. “That might be true in your location, but it’s just a better, best practice to do your taxes earlier.”

Steber said a benefit to filing early is that you can avoid tax fraud.

“There are still a lot of bad data stealers out there who’ve been stealing data or data breachers or even just taking your tax return off the printer that you left it there last year,” Steber said. “If you file early, you lock up your data with the IRS.”

If you owe taxes, you can file now and pay later.

“A lot of people put it off,” Steber said. “You can file early and still pay at midnight, on April 18. You can debit your bank account, write a check, put it on a credit card. Filing early doesn’t mean you have to pay early, but it does mean if you get a refund, you get your money early.”

Steeber said it’s a safe bet to get help from a tax expert, that way you have an extra set of eyes.

“It’s a best practice with your doctor, it’s a best practice if you need legal advice or contractor or a plumber or painter,” Steber said. “It’s certainly a best practice with your tax professional and it will pay dividends over the next 30, 40 or 50 years that you have to file taxes.”

Steber said a common mistake many people make is thinking a tax extension gives you more time, but that’s not necessarily the case. It’s only an extension of time to file your paperwork, not to pay your taxes – which are due by midnight on April 18.

For more information, visit the IRS website.