Whether this is your first tax season or you’ve been filing for years, tax time can be confusing. What deductions can you write off? What is your filing status? Do you have dependents? If any of these, or the number of other questions, are answered or filled out incorrectly, you could delay your tax refund, or worse, have the IRS taking a second look at you. Worry not, this article will help you learn the 5 most common tax errors to avoid this tax season and gives you tips to make your filing simpler.
1. Misspelling Names
I know what you’re thinking, “I know how to spell my name!”, but you would be surprised at the number rejected returns and delayed refunds caused by misspellings. You may be rushing to get done, typing too quickly, or maybe you’ve been spelling your spouse’s name wrong, whatever the reason, the best way to avoid this is to simply double check and slow down.
Bonus Tip: If you’ve recently gotten married (or divorced) and have not yet registered a name change with the Social Security Administration, use your old name. Whatever name is on your Social Security Card is the name you should file under.
2. Wrong Social Security Number
Speaking of Social Security Cards, if you double check your name on there, it might be wise to double check the number too. Again, slow and steady is the best way to avoid errors from fast fingers hitting the wrong keys or scribbling the wrong number, but if you aren’t 100% positive you know your spouse or your child’s SSN (and even if you are), look at the actual card to be sure and check the entire form to ensure you didn’t leave any blank.
Bonus Tip: This is also a problem with bank account numbers. E-filing speeds up the return process, but only if you input the right information, so checking with your bank is a good idea.
3. Filing Status
There are 5 statuses, and it is important you pick the correct one. The options are Single, Married Filing Separately, Married Filing Jointly, Head of Household, and Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child. You should select the one that BEST fits you.
4. Math Mistakes
Most people don’t like math. It’s hard and it probably wasn’t your favorite subject in school, but it’s one of the first areas the IRS checks on your tax returns. Going slow and checking your math can help if you are filling out paper forms, but if you want a safer bet, online tax filing software might be a better way to go.
5. Sign Your Work
This is something that can be easy to overlook. You’re finally done crunching the numbers and double checking. You can see the light at the end of the tax filing tunnel, but an unsigned return is considered invalid. To guarantee your tax return is filed on time, be sure you signed it before sending it to the mailbox!
Bonus Tip: If you are jointly filing, both spouses need to sign the return for it to be considered valid.
There’s no need to rush this year with the deadline being pushed back from April 15th to April 18th, due to the usual day falling on a Saturday and the recognized holiday, Emancipation Day, falling on the following Monday. It is a good idea is to have a folder set aside to keep all your tax documents organized. As you receive various forms, put them in the folder until you are ready to file to ensure you don’t misplace or forget any. Taxes can be confusing, but with these handy tips in mind, you’ll be ready to file like a pro!
Taxes aren’t the only confusing subject we face though, insurance can often leave you scratching your head and hoping you made the right choice, but there’s a better way to avoid errors with insurance too! Just call 724-929-2300 to talk with our insurance specialist about your coverage, specific needs, or any questions you may have!