Common Mistakes When Filing Your Tax Return
As a tax professional, I have seen countless mistakes made by taxpayers when they file their tax returns. These mistakes can range from simple math errors to incorrect information, which can cause a delay in processing and even trigger an audit. However, the good news is that most of these errors are easily avoidable. In this article, I will outline the common mistakes taxpayers make and provide tips on how to avoid them.
“Filing too early”
One of the most common mistakes taxpayers make is filing too early. Taxpayers should not file their returns until they have received all of their tax reporting documents. Filing prematurely can result in a processing delay and even lead to an audit if the information on the return is inaccurate. To avoid this mistake, taxpayers should wait until they have received all of their tax documents and double-check the information on their return before filing.
“Missing or inaccurate Social Security numbers”
Another common mistake is missing or inaccurate Social Security numbers. Each Social Security number on the return must match the number listed on the Social Security card. Taxpayers should make sure to double-check the numbers to avoid processing delays and possible audits.
Taxpayers should also make sure that the names of all taxpayers and dependents listed on the return match the names on their Social Security cards. Misspelled names can cause processing delays and lead to mistakes on the return. To avoid this, taxpayers should double-check the names and make sure they are correct before filing.
Inaccurate information is another common mistake taxpayers make when filing their tax returns. This can include incorrect wage and income information, incorrect calculations for credits and deductions, and incorrect information for other tax-related items. To avoid this mistake, taxpayers should carefully review all of the information on their return and double-check the calculations.
“Incorrect filing status”
Some taxpayers choose the wrong filing status on their tax return, which can result in an incorrect refund or even an audit. To avoid this mistake, taxpayers should consult Publication 501, which provides detailed information about filing statuses.
Math errors are one of the most common mistakes taxpayers make when filing their tax returns. To avoid this mistake, taxpayers should double-check their calculations and use tax software to help with the math. Tax software will check the calculations and flag any errors, saving taxpayers time and effort in correcting their returns later.
“Incorrect credits or deductions”
Taxpayers can also make mistakes when figuring out credits and deductions, such as the earned income tax credit, child and dependent care credit, and child tax credit. To avoid this mistake, taxpayers should use tax software to help calculate these credits and deductions. The software will include any required forms and schedules, making the process easier and less prone to errors.
“Incorrect bank account numbers”
Taxpayers who are expecting a refund should choose direct deposit as it is the fastest way to receive their money. However, taxpayers must make sure they use the correct routing and account numbers on their return. Incorrect bank information can result in the refund being delayed or even sent to the wrong account. To avoid this mistake, taxpayers should double-check the bank information on their return.
An unsigned tax return is not valid, and in most cases, both spouses must sign a joint return. Exceptions may apply for members of the armed forces or taxpayers who have a valid power of attorney. To avoid this mistake, taxpayers should make sure all forms are signed before filing their return.