Own investments? You may not want to file your taxes until March.

It seems like our clients tend to fall into one of two categories: There are those that are watching their mailboxes mid-January, checking for tax forms so they can get their taxes filed as soon as possible. And then there are those that don’t even want to look at those tax forms until sometime in early April, and some, not even until April 15th! If the latter is you, this blog post may not be for you.

Normally, we applaud people for getting a head start on their tax filing and not procrastinating until the last minute. However, if you own investments, you may want to proceed with caution. First, it is important to note that there is a common misconception that ALL tax forms are due to be mailed out by January 31st. This is true for employer W-2 forms and most 1099 tax forms. However, 1099-B forms which reflect the proceeds from the sale of securities in non-retirement accounts, are not actually due to be mailed until February 15th. And for 2014, because February 15th falls on a weekend and the following Monday is a Federal holiday, the deadline for this year has been extended to February 18th. But even if you get a 1099-B form by the end of February, you STILL may want to proceed with caution.

Here’s why: In the past several years, due to accounting reconciliations, last-minute changes in tax reporting requirements and tax laws, or other reasons, many brokerage firms and other investment companies have had to amend their 1099 forms and issue new ones, some as late as mid-March. This created a lot of confusion for the investor and in many cases, resulted in having to file an amended return. And if you have to pay a professional to prepare your taxes, amending a return usually results in additional cost to you.

So if you own investments in NON-RETIREMENT accounts that would generate a 1099-B form, you might want to consider waiting to file your taxes until the end of March to reduce your chance of having to amend your tax return in the event you get a corrected 1099. However, you can and SHOULD still give your tax preparer all of your information and get started on the filing as early as possible (Trust us, he or she will appreciate the earlier the better!) Just ask them not to actually click to FILE the return until the end of March.

While the tax or legal guidance provided is based on our understanding of current laws, this information is not intended as, and should not be relied upon, as tax or legal advice. Neither FSC Securities Corporation nor its registered representatives, provide tax or legal advice. As with all matters of a tax or legal nature, you should consult with your tax or legal counsel for advice.