Small errors on your tax return can cost you big time. If you want to get your tax refund as quickly as possible and avoid fines, don’t make these nine common errors.
- Wrong or Missing Social Security Numbers. All of the tax information that gets reported to the IRS is tied to your Social Security number. As a result, if you provide the wrong number, the IRS will not be able to match up your return with the information that your employer and financial institutions have provided.
- Wrong Names. The IRS receives many returns on which people’s names are incorrect. Double check your Social Security card to ensure you are providing your legal name.
- Filing Status Errors. Some filing statuses can give additional tax breaks, but it is critical to choose the right one for your particular situation. Often, taxpayers make mistakes in choosing a filing status for which they don’t qualify, such as, head of household for unmarried individuals.
- Math Errors. Tax software typically catches math errors; however, if you make a simple data-entry mistake, your numbers will still be off. Double check everything with a calculator to avoid this problem.
- Errors in Figuring Credits or Deductions. Some tax breaks are complicated and the IRS says that errors in figuring the earned income tax credit, child and dependent care credit and the standard deduction are particularly common. The best way to avoid these errors is to follow instructions carefully in calculating these credits and deductions.
- Incorrect Bank Account Numbers. If you use direct deposit to get your refund, make sure you have provided the correct routing number and account number. If you don’t, your refund won’t get processed correctly.
- Not signing or dating your tax forms. It is easy to forget one of these key final steps after spending hours or days preparing your return. However, an unsigned tax return is not valid. Also, if you are filing a joint return, both spouses have to sign.
- Errors with validating an electronically filed tax return. If you file electronically, you have to select a personal identification number to use to validate your return. Often, taxpayers do not understand the procedure or fail to provide the correct number.
- Not Correcting Erroneous Tax Information Forms. If there are errors on your W-2 form from your employer or on your 1099 forms from financial institutions, you should not ignore them. Rather, talk to the reporting party and ask them to correct the error. Otherwise, the IRS will flag a mismatch between what you filed and what the other party filed and it will be up to you to prove you are right.
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