Common Mistakes Made by Taxpayers when Filing Taxes

You work hard for your money throughout the year. The dreaded tax deadline comes in April and you, being a disciplined taxpayer, filed your tax forms a few months early. You patiently wait for your refund but, alas, several weeks have passed and it doesn’t arrive.

When you investigate you find out that you made one of the common mistakes made by taxpayers every year. Your one, little mistake prevented the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from quickly processing your return. Being aware of the most common mistakes taxpayers make can help you save time in the long run. Going through the IRS Error Checklist, and following the tips below will help you avoid making these mistakes.

Missing information

Often, due to the complexity of the form, and due to a number of possible errors such as those outlined by the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue, it is easy to miss a box that needs to be checked. Be sure to carefully read through each line of your tax return to insure you don’t miss providing necessary information (e.g. filing status, e.g. single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, etc.).

Taxpayers often forget to put in their spouse (if filing jointly) or dependents’ social security numbers when filing according to the Law Offices of Darren T. Mish.

Be sure to sign and date the return before sending it in. If you are filing jointly, your spouse needs to sign and date the return also.

If you owe money then you must include a properly filled out and labeled check or money order with your return.

Attach your W-2s and all applicable forms before sending out your return.

Incorrect information

If you are writing in your tax return information, make sure all entries are legible; this includes all names and numbers used throughout the form.

Checking a box by mistake can also lead to a delay in processing your form. For example, checking more than one box under the filing status section (i.e. single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, etc.) is a common mistake.

It is all too easy to incorrectly enter information that is required. Be sure to spell all names exactly as they are written on social security cards, especially when it comes to dependents’ names.

Use the correct deduction information when calculating your deductions, whether using the standard deduction or an amount found in the tax table.

When entering your deduction amount from the tax table insure you are using the correct amount. Double check that you are using the amount listed in the proper column and row before you enter the amount onto your tax return.

Make sure you mail your return to the proper address according to the instructions. If you are expecting a refund you may have to use a different address than if you are submitting a payment.

Be sure you write in the correct account information if you are expecting a refund and you are requesting a direct deposit into your account.

Mathematical errors

Double check all calculations to insure that your figures are all correct. It is common for taxpayers to make a mistake in addition, subtraction, or multiplication somewhere on their form. This includes checking all tax break and credit computations.

To help you avoid making mathematical or computational mistakes, you may want to file your return electronically. Tax filing software will automatically do calculations for you. While certain restrictions do apply, you may qualify for free electronic filing via IRS Free File.

After you have gone through all the trouble of making sure your tax return is correct and complete, be sure to keep a copy of it in case something happens in transit to the IRS. Lastly, you may want to keep this list handy to insure you don’t make any of these common taxpayer mistakes next year.