Tax Return Mistakes
As you get ready to file your taxes, it can be tempting to fly through your return. But you shouldn’t! Rushing through your return can lead to mistakes, which can slow down the process or render your return invalid. Here are the six popular errors the IRS commonly sees during tax season.
Wrong/missing Social Security numbers
The IRS says wrong or missing Social Security numbers is one of the most common mistakes it sees on tax returns. The mistake can be as simple as typing the number too fast into your tax software or misremembering what your children’s Social Security numbers were when listing them as dependents. When filling out tax information, make sure you have the correct numbers and double-check them against the actual cards. Inputting and submitting a wrong Social Security number is a major red flag for the IRS that the return may be filed as identity theft.
It may sound silly but misspelled names are a very common error on tax returns, whether it’s your own name, your spouse’s, or the name of a dependent. Many times, it is not on purpose. The names on your tax return should match the ones on your Social Security card, and sometimes, the Social Security Administration (SSA) could have gotten it wrong. Use the name that appears on your Social Security card. If you need to change your name, contact the SSA.
Filing status error
There are five different filing statuses to choose from. They include single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, and qualifying widow(er) with a dependent child. Each status has a specific definition for tax purposes, so it’s important to choose the correct one.
One of the first things checked by the IRS is your math. The first two pages of your tax return need to add up. If you choose to file a paper return, go slow and double check your math. If you chose to use tax software (or a professional!), you don’t have to worry about doing the math on your own.
This is another common mistake cited by the IRS each year. However, this mistake isn’t just a mistake. An unsigned form renders your return invalid. Returns are only considered valid when signed and submitted in a timely manner. Make sure if you are signing jointly that both spouses sign the return.
Errors in tax credits/deductions
There are a large number of tax credits and deductions that you may be eligible for. However, sometimes credits or deduction you may appear to be eligible for were actually phased out due to your income or another restriction. If you are unsure about a credit or deduction, read the instructions on the form carefully or consult a tax professional.