If you’re the type of taxpayer who waits until the last minute to file a return you’re probably at a higher risk of making a common tax filing mistake than you’d think. When you’re under the pressure of trying to beat the deadline you’re far more likely to report incorrect information or make a math mistake while preparing your form. Here are six of the most common tax filing mistakes you’ll want to avoid this tax season.
1. Reporting Improper Basic Information – Simply filling in incorrect information on your return can cause your return to be rejected or your refund to be delayed. Even seemingly small mistakes such as using the wrong Social Security number or forgetting to sign your return can cause problems during processing.
2. Using the Wrong Filing Status – There are five different tax filing statuses available to taxpayers. The issue arises when a taxpayer thinks that he qualifies for a status when he really doesn’t. Since some tax statuses allow for higher standard deductions than others, using the wrong one can cause you to overstate your refund or underreport the amount of tax you owe.
3. Making Mistakes in Math Calculations – If you use a tax preparation program, you’ll probably be able to avoid this mistake since the program does the math for you. But if you still prepare your forms by hand be sure to go through the entire completed form and check your work.
4. Neglecting to Report All of Your Income – The IRS requires you to report all of the income you earn during the year, even if you don’t receive a printed notice. If you do freelance work in your spare time or if you sell items on the Internet, for example, you may not receive a Form 1099 that reports your total income from these activities. You’ll still be required to report these earnings to the IRS.
5. Claiming Unsubstantiated Deductions – If you claim self-employed or itemized deductions it’s always wise to only claim those expenses that you can support with documentation. If you decide to claim a spurious deduction your return may be flagged for an audit.
6. Filing a Late Return – The biggest filing mistake is not submitting your return on time or at all. If you owe taxes that you’ll be unable to pay on time ask about setting up an irs payment plan. Or if you know you won’t be able to complete your return by the deadline request an extension.
Tax time may be a stressful time of year for many American taxpayers. Despite the possible stress that goes along with the filing deadline you can get through your filing season stress-free if you avoid these common tax filing mistakes.
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