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If you are still working to get your 2017 taxes done before the October 15th extension deadline, you need to make sure the tax returns you are filing are accurate. Making even the smallest mistake on your tax return will likely prolong the entire process. Here are a few of the most common errors to avoid people make:
- Misspelling names. All names listed on your tax return should match the names on the Social Security cards exactly.
- Forgetting or reporting an inaccurate Social Security numbers. Double check that the SSN of each person listed on the return is exactly as it is printed on their Social Security card.
- Wrong filing status. Be sure to choose the correct filing status, such as Head of Household instead of Single. If you need help determining which status to use, check the Interactive Tax Assistant on IRS website.
- “Bad math”. Just like I always tell my kids, double check your math. Errors are involving simple addition and subtraction are very common—especially when figuring out the taxable portion of a pension, IRA distribution, or even Social Security benefits. These are among the most difficult calculations. Utilize a tax preparation software which automatically checks it can help minimize math mistakes.
- Figuring credits or deductions. When figuring their Earned Income Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit, the standard deduction and other items, these can easily cost you money. Always follow all instructions carefully. And use the IRS Interactive Tax Assistant if you need help determining which credits or deductions you are eligible for.
- Typos in bank account numbers. Choosing direct deposit is easy and convenient for those receiving a refund. However, always double check your routing and account numbers on the tax return.
- Forgetting to sign. Unsigned tax returns are not valid. This can be avoided if you file electronically and use a digital signature. However, keep in mind if file a joint return, both spouses must sign the return. There is an exception for some members of the military.