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Timing is Everything in Business

Timing Is Everything in Business: Watch Deadlines and Statutes of Limitations

Apparently, the statement that timing is everything can be traced to the Greek poet Hesiod who said “Observe due measure, for right timing is in all things the most important factor.”

Timing is Everything in Business

Great timing is essential for every business.

Here are some areas you need to pay attention to when it comes to timing.


It’s important to observe performance deadlines for your business. When do you have to deliver goods? When to you have to complete a project? The failure to meet your deadlines can lose the customer for whom you were late. Or it can constitute malpractice (e.g., a lawyer fails to submit a brief in the course of a legal action). Or it can cause you to get a reputation for missing deadlines, which will cost you business. Be sure to have deadlines that are attainable and set up a system to keep track of them.

It’s also necessary to observe payment deadlines. Being tardy on paying bills can anger vendors and hurt your credit rating. Make sure your cash flow is monitored carefully so that you won’t be caught short when you need to pay your bills. In some cases, you can gain a little leeway by paying a bill by credit card and, if you pay off the credit card bill on time, this leeway doesn’t cost you anything extra.


Many tax actions must be done by set dates or within set periods in order to be effective and/or avoid penalties. Tax returns have due dates, and missing them triggers late-filing penalties. Taxes must be paid by certain times; paying late results in late-payment penalties.

If you want a refund, you must file within a statute of limitations or you’re out of luck. For example, you obtained a filing extension to file your 2016 tax return and you sent it in on June 1, 2017. After you filed, you discovered an omission of a sizable deduction that would have lowered your taxes. You have until June 1, 2020, to file an amended return so you can claim a tax refund.

There’s also a statute of limitations for filing a petition in Tax Court to contest what the IRS says you owe. This is 90 days from the issuance of a determination letter by the IRS.

View the IRS Tax Calendar for Businesses & Self-Employed to see many of the filing and payment due dates.


If you’ve be injured in some way, you have only a limited time to bring a lawsuit seeing redress. Statutes of limitations for legal actions in most cases are set by state law. Usually, you may have three years, six years, or more to bring a case for breach of a written contract. Different periods apply for property damage, malpractice claims, and other actions. Having a statute of limitations means that someone has the same amount of time to sue you if they believed you injured them in some way.

It may be possible to curtail the usual statute of limitations by the terms of a contract. For example, a New York court recently upheld a one-year period set by the terms of a contract between Deloitte Tax LLP, an accounting firm, and its client. The court also said that the period ran from the time the advice was given and not when the damages stemming from the advice resulted.

Nolo has a listing (from 2015) of the statute of limitations in your state.


As Shakespeare said, “Better three hours too soon than one minute too late.” Tick, tick, tick.


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