In 2016, the IRS received more than 152 million individual tax returns. Given our own personal filing strategies and life priorities, timetables for this annual filing ritual vary. Some people file early, others file late and still others file right in the nick of time on deadline day – April 15th (although this year it’s today, April 18th) that favorite unofficial American holiday!
We mined a sample of Acxiom’s data to understand when different groups of people file their taxes. Using publicly available IRS tax filing data for calibration, we uncovered some surprising insights about when certain people file and how this relates to their particular life stage. But first, let’s talk refunds.
One finding of our analysis was the lack of correlation between when people file and the refund amounts they receive. Whether individuals file before, after or on Tax Day, the average refund amounts are quite similar. If this is surprising, consider what we learned about the tax timetable of Millennials.
It’s common sense that younger people should file before the tax deadline given the incentives for doing so and the relative ease of preparing their returns. Many Millennials are early in their careers and are more likely to earn modest incomes – a reflection of time spent in the work force. Also, typically they do not have families of their own nor extensive investment portfolios. If these assumptions are correct, a simple tax form that requires basic income information would suffice for the majority of this group and they should expect to receive a tax refund. However, we found that overall, Millennials are the least likely group to file their taxes early!
Which group is the earliest to file? Take a look at our What’s Your Tax Timetable infographic below to learn more about who files early, late or on‑time and how much each gets back in refunds.
This topic was particularly interesting to Forbes staff writer Kelly Phillips Erb. She references our infographic in her article, How Do You Measure Up To Other Taxpayers?
So what’s your tax timetable?