Early Bird Mistakes to Avoid During Tax Season

The Internal Revenue Service began accepting 2017 tax returns on Jan. 29, and according to some schools of thought, that's the best time to get them in. Filing season is a big deal for identity thieves, so there's something to be said for getting ahead of them. With last year's Equifax data breach revelations, everyone's on high alert for increased activity. It's also a good way to get your refund as quickly as possible, if you're eligible.

Getting your taxes out of the way is a smart move on many levels. But even if you're using accounting software or an in-person accountant, you may still make some mistakes that could result in payment errors, over or under. Writing for MarketWatch, Alessandra Malito highlights three common flubs that you might rush into while filing ASAP.

1. Mixing up your tax forms

It would be great if every single employer or bank that sends you a form got it right the first time. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to deal with amended tax forms, which can change the inputs for your own calculations. You might also file in a hurry and then realize you've left out something crucial. Getting organized and using a thorough checklist before doing your taxes can help you sidestep this issue.

2. Shorting yourself on IRA contributions

You may not be thinking about retirement, but it's actually never too early to start planning and saving. One way to do that is through an individual retirement account, which you can contribute to for the previous year all the way up through Tax Day. Those contributions are tax-deductible, by the way, and while you'll pay taxes whenever you withdraw, you want to make sure you max out your 2017 contributions ($5,500 for most) before you start socking away for 2018.

3. Leaving behind minimum withdrawals

This actually is only relevant to those over 70 years and six months, but if you've got a relative in this category, make sure they take their minimum withdrawals from their IRAs. Anything that's not withdrawn by an end-of-year deadline gets taxed at 50 percent.