To ensure your tax obligations are met, it is essential that you file an accurate tax return. If you make an error on your tax return, it will likely take longer to process and could delay your refund. Most of the common tax return mistakes can be avoided if you file electronically using the IRS Free File, the most accurate way to file. But if you don’t, here are the eight most common issues you might make when preparing your tax return:
1. Misspelling names. Spell all names listed on a tax return exactly as listed on the taxpayers’ Social Security cards.
2. Missing or inaccurate Social Security Numbers. Be sure to enter each SSN on your return exactly as it appears on the Social Security card.
3. Filing status. Some taxpayers claim the wrong filing status, such as Head of Household instead of Single. You can utilize the Interactive Tax Assistant on IRS.gov to help select the correct status. Or use E-file software to limit mistakes.
4. Math mistakes. Math errors are common, ranging from simple addition and subtraction to more complex issues. Figuring the taxable portion of a pension, IRA distribution or Social Security benefits is more difficult and results in more errors. Taxpayers should always double check their math. Better yet, tax preparation software does it automatically.
5. Miscalculating credits or deductions. Take extra care when figuring Earned Income Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit, the standard deduction and other items. Follow the instructions carefully. The IRS Interactive Tax Assistant is a valuable tool for determining your eligibility when it comes to tax credits or deductions.
6. Wrong bank account numbers. If you receive a refund, choose direct deposit for convenience and to safeguard against thieves.However, the IRS suggests double checking routing and account numbers on the tax return.
7. Unsigned forms. If you send in a return that is unsigned then the tax return isn’t valid. If you file jointly, then both you and your spouse must sign the joint return. You can avoid this mistake by filing your return electronically. When you do this your signature is captured digitally before it is sent it to the IRS.
If you are using a tax software product for the first time make sure to enter your adjusted gross income from 2016 in order to file electronically. However, if you are using the same tax software you used last year, you typically do not need to enter the prior-year’s in order to sign electronically for your 2017 tax return.
8. Filing with an expired ITIN. Your return will be processed and treated as a timely filed return with an expired Individual Tax Identification Number. However, the ITIN must be current before the IRS will allow exemptions and credits.
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