After filing your taxes, you eagerly anticipate the arrival of your tax return. However, as weeks pass by, concern begins to creep in. Why is it taking so much time? Perhaps there were errors in your return that are causing the delay.
A tax return involves numerous factors such as income, deductions, tax brackets, and dependents, making it a complex process. This complexity is why many individuals choose to have their taxes prepared by a professional. To prevent any tax mishaps, here are a few errors to steer clear of:
1. Incorrect or Missing Information: One of the most common mistakes taxpayers make is providing incorrect or incomplete information on their tax return. This could include simple errors such as misspelling a name, entering the wrong Social Security number, or failing to report all sources of income. These mistakes can significantly delay the processing of your return.
2. Math Errors: Even with the convenience of tax preparation software, math errors can still occur. Whether it’s a simple addition or subtraction mistake or a more complex calculation error, these mistakes can trigger an audit or result in an incorrect refund amount. It’s crucial to double-check all calculations to ensure accuracy.
3. Filing Status Mistakes: Choosing the correct filing status is essential for determining your tax liability. However, some taxpayers may unintentionally select the wrong status, such as filing as single instead of head of household. This error can have significant repercussions, affecting your eligibility for certain deductions or credits.
4. Neglecting to Sign and Date: It may seem like a minor oversight, but forgetting to sign and date your tax return can cause unnecessary delays. Your return is considered invalid without a signature, and the IRS will require you to resubmit it. Make sure to review your return thoroughly and sign and date it before submitting it.
5. Forgetting to Include Supporting Documents: Depending on your financial situation, you may need to attach additional documents, such as W-2s, 1099s, or other forms, to your tax return. Neglecting to include these supporting documents can lead to delays or even trigger an audit. Be sure to gather all the necessary paperwork and attach it securely to your return.
6. Ignoring Changes in Tax Laws: Tax laws are subject to change each year, and staying informed about these changes is crucial. Failing to account for new deductions, credits, or changes in tax brackets can result in missed opportunities for tax savings. Keeping up with tax law updates or consulting a tax professional can help you avoid this error.
By being aware of these common errors and taking steps to avoid them, you can ensure a smoother and faster tax return process. Remember, seeking the assistance of a qualified tax professional can provide additional peace of mind and help minimize the likelihood of mistakes on your return.
- Incorrect filing status.
- Social Security number(s) incorrect, missing or doesn’t match name(s).
- Incorrect or missing forms and schedules.
- Return not signed.
- Claiming ineligible dependents.
- Failing to claim credits (Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Credit, etc.) or figuring credits incorrectly.
- Failure to report and pay domestic payroll taxes (if you are employing a maid, in-home caregiver, nanny, etc.)
- Forgetting to claim income that’s not included on a Form W-2, Form 1099 or other return.
- Failing to figure out whether or not you’re liable for the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).
- Entering the wrong amount of taxable Social Security benefits.
- Mailing your return to the wrong address.
- Math errors.
- Standard deduction used when itemizing is more advantageous. The government estimates that more than 500,000 taxpayers using the EZ form could save money by itemizing.
Tax Return Errors Can Be Avoided
Double-check your numbers.
Making mistakes with numbers is a common occurrence. One might commit a calculation error, mix up digits ($54 instead of $45), or mistakenly add or subtract an extra digit ($789 instead of $89). To ensure accuracy, it is advisable to thoroughly review and verify your work.
Watch for missing or incorrect information.
Please ensure that you sign your return and ensure that your Social Security number is clear and readable. If you prefer to have your return deposited directly into your bank account, please double-check that your banking details are accurate.
Don’t miss the deadline.
Each year, April 15th marks the annual deadline. Failure to file by this date will result in the imposition of interest and fees. The IRS will charge interest starting from the due date until the outstanding amount is settled, in addition to a penalty for late filing. If you require an extension of six months, it must be requested prior to April 15th.
Claim all your tax deductions.
Do you know what purchases can be claimed on your taxes and which ones cannot? These guidelines can change from year to year, so it’s important to understand the rules.
File the correct forms.
The forms can be confusing because there are often similar names for completely different forms (1040, 1040A, 1040EZ). Filing an incorrect form can delay the processing of your claim, or possibly cause you to miss out on potential tax breaks.
File even if you can’t afford to pay.
If you know that you will owe the government money and can’t afford to pay them, you still want to file a tax return. Missing the deadline will result in additional penalties and interest charges.
For more information, visit the IRS at www.irs.gov or talk to a tax professional.