Everyone wants to get their taxes done quickly and with a minimum of fuss, but cutting corners can be a costly and time-consuming habit if a mistake delays your refund or triggers an audit. Luckily, the IRS has compiled a list of common tax errors that you should look out for when you prepare your taxes!
Keep a Sharp Eye out for the Following Mistakes.
- Incorrect social security numbers. Though you may have your social memorized, it’s easy to transpose two numbers and end up submitting your return with a mistake, especially when you’re filling in details for a spouse or child. An incorrect social is a mistake that will definitely result in a delay, but it’s very easy to avoid if you keep your social security card on hand while filing.
- Entering the wrong name. Believe it or not, people do fill their own names out incorrectly! Your listed name needs to exactly match the name on your social security card, even if the name there is incorrect. Use whatever name appears on your card and contact the SSA if there’s a mistake.
- Filing status mistakes. There are five filing statuses: Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child. Be sure you don’t accidentally fill out the wrong return.
- Mathematical errors. When it comes to taxes, it pays to use a calculator. Be sure that your numbers are added and subtracted correctly on your return, especially the numbers on the first two pages. If math’s not your thing, hire a pro!
- Tax credits and deductions. Deductions can be complicated, and they all come with restrictions and qualifiers that you might not be aware of. Take special care with your deductions, and if your situation is complicated or you’re claiming a lot of them, it’s a good idea to work with a professional.
- Incorrect bank account numbers. If you file online and connect a bank account, you can get your refund back within a month, sometimes even sooner. It’s a fast way to do it, but if you list your bank account incorrectly it’ll delay the process and you’ll need to go through your bank to get help. Always copy your bank account details directly from your online bank statements.
- Unsigned forms. Believe it or not, some people even forget to sign their mailed tax forms, rendering them instantly invalid. Also, remember that if it’s a joint return, both spouses have to sign the form.
- PIN errors. E-filed returns all require a Personal Identification Number, so don’t forget yours or enter it wrong! If you have one, remember that your e-filing PIN is different than your IP PIN.
So How Can You Avoid These Common Errors?
Go slow, double-check your work, come back the next day to review everything for accuracy, and copy names and information directly from the source to reduce the risk of typos. Finally, you may want to talk to a professional to make sure you’re doing everything right!