Common Tax Mistakes
8 Things to Double-Check While Rushing to File Taxes
April 18 — aka Tax Day — will be here before we know it, and for those of you who are filing early, make sure you're not making careless mistakes while rushing to get that refund. Here are some of the most common errors taxpayers make when filing, according to the IRS:
- Social Security numbers. Many people input incorrect or missing Social Security numbers, so make sure you're entering in the same numbers that are on your Social Security card.
- Dependent's last name. You'd be surprised to know that many people misspell their dependent's last name. Make sure you use the same name that's used on his or her Social Security card.
- Filing status. Many people choose the wrong filing status. Be familiar with the five filing statuses, which are single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, and qualifying widower with a dependent child. To figure out which status is the most suitable for your situation, read Publication 501.
- Math. A lot of filers mess up the math while preparing paper returns, so be sure to review it if you're filing the old-fashioned way. Or better yet, file electronically so you don't have to do the math.
- Computation. Taxpayers tend to make mistakes when calculating their taxable income, withholding, and estimated tax payments, Earned Income Tax Credit, Standard Deduction for age 65 or over or blind, the taxable amount of Social Security benefits, and the Child and Dependent Care Credit. If you have to do some of these computations, make sure you take your time and you're double-checking your answers.
- Bank account numbers for direct deposit. If you are going with the direct deposit option, make sure you input the right bank routing and account numbers.
- Signing and dating the return. If you do not sign your tax return, it is considered invalid. Remember, both spouses must sign a joint return.
- Adjusted gross income. When filing electronically, you have to sign the return with a Personal Identification Number. For identity verification, you will be required to input your adjusted gross income from your 2016 tax return or last year's PIN if you also filed electronically. Don't use the AGI amount from an amended return, Form 1040X, or a math-error correction made by the IRS.