What may be your biggest paycheck of the year is on the horizon! Tax season officially began Monday, January 29, when the IRS started accepting returns for the 2017 tax year. By taking advantage of every possible tax break, you can minimize your tax liability and potentially net yourself a larger tax refund. We get it: Taxes and procrastination are a natural combination. Let’s change that – now is the time to get motivated! Here are a few more reasons that should convince you to not put off filing your taxes any longer:

1. Get Your Money Now

If you're owed an income tax refund, the sooner you file your taxes, the sooner you'll receive your refund. Every day that passes while you wait to file your return is one more day that you don't get your money back. Typically, the IRS expects to make direct deposit refunds available within 21 days if you e-file your return, but if you mail your return, you might have to wait several more weeks for your refund.

2. Better Prep = A Larger Check

As we inch closer to the tax-filing deadline, stress levels increase! When you subject yourself to time constraints, you become susceptible to many mistakes: using incorrect tax tables, failing to provide all the requested information clearly, or worse – flubbing your routing and account numbers for direct deposit. You don't want to cut corners in order to meet the tax-filing deadline. If you need assistance, trusting in the knowledge of a Tax Pro can literally pay off!

3. Be a Step Ahead of Scammers

Everyone is potentially a victim. Even those who haven't been directly affected by a data breach could be victims of tax identity theft. In recent tax seasons, a growing concern has been the possibility of identity thieves using your personal information to file a tax return in your name. Sending your return in early cuts down on the likelihood that someone else might be able to steal your identity and file on your behalf. Filing early can greatly help to avoid identity theft tax refund fraud.

4. Time to Plan for Your Plan

You’ll have more time to arrange payment before the deadline if you owe taxes. Think about it: If you file in January, you’ll have until the deadline to pay in full. This allows you to plan for the expense over a few months, so it doesn’t completely throw your budget off track.

5. No One Really Wants to File for an Extension

Filing a tax extension with the IRS allows you to push your tax forms deadline back to October and avoid IRS late-filing penalties, as long as you file for the extension by April 17. But here’s the catch: While an extension gives you extra time to file your return, an extension does not give you extra time to pay your taxes. Just remember that if you’re filing the extension because you’re a procrastinator, it won’t be any easier to file in October than it is in April.

Most people fall into two categories when it comes to filing taxes – those who are super-organized and file their tax returns as soon as possible, and those who barely manage to scrape their paperwork together by the April deadline. It's important not to file before you have all your relevant information, but the goal is not to fall into the latter category of people; don’t drag your feet when it comes to filing your taxes, especially if you're due a refund. Once you have the necessary documents, it's smart to move the process along as quickly as possible. Your money is waiting for you!