Mistakes and omissions in preparing and filing taxes are very common. Given the complexity and the nearly 10-million words in tax law, the instructions are pretty lengthy as well. It is not a surprise that according to a Pew Research Center Poll, 72% of Americans surveyed believe the federal tax code is too complex.
Given the tedious processes involved with filing taxes, it is not very uncommon to make mistakes. Filing mistakes on your tax returns might result in the IRS contacting you to correct the errors and this in turn may delay your refund. Here are 8 common tax-filing errors and how to avoid them.
Wrong or missing Social Security number (SSN).
A Social Security Number has nine digits. Mistyping even one number will make it an entirely new number and not valid for you. So, be sure to check multiple times anywhere you use this number. It should appear on your tax return forms exactly as it is on your Social Security card
Wrong or misspelled names.
You would be surprised to know how many people misspell their name. Even if it is just once, spelling your name incorrectly on your tax forms might cause issues. Make sure all the names of every individual on your tax returns appear exactly as they are on their Social Security cards.
Filing status errors.
Some people use the wrong filing status, such as Head of Household instead of Single. The Interactive Tax Assistant on IRS.gov can help you choose the right status for you. Tax software helps e-filers choose their correct status.
Filing mistakes with math and/or numbers.
Math may not be many people’s stronghold. Even if it is, it helps to double-check your calculations and figures. In addition, it is advisable to have someone that your trust take a look to make sure. E-filers can take the advantage of tax preparation software and avoid all math mistakes.
Errors with figuring credits or deductions.
Individual or household situations vary greatly and so can the credits and deductions. Many tax filers make mistakes figuring their Earned Income Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit, and the standard deduction. Follow the instructions carefully when figuring credits and deductions to claim the correct deduction for your circumstance.
Wrong bank account numbers.
Should you chose to get your refund through direct deposit, it is important to give your correct bank account number and other details. If you make errors with your bank account numbers, your refund may be delayed until the error gets fixed. As with any other numbers, it is important to correctly state your bank account numbers.
Unsigned or undated forms.
Like any other important document, a tax return form must be signed and dated for it to be valid. An unsigned tax return is like an unsigned check – it’s not valid. If you are filing joint returns, both spouses must sign the tax return.
PIN errors with E-filing.
When you self-prepare and e-file your taxes, you must sign and validate your electronic tax return by entering your prior year self-select PIN. If you do not have or forget the PIN, you can use your prior year’s Adjusted Gross Income (AIG). If you made filing mistakes with your PIN, you can correct it without any added fee, but might take a little longer.
Every working and earning individual making more than the statutory minimum gross income should file tax returns for the preceding year. All US citizens and residents are required by law to pay Federal tax returns to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). The standard individual US tax return form is the 1040. If a mistake is identified after filing the returns, it is corrected by submitting form 1040X. For more information on taxes and filing returns, check out the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) website and other useful websites.