Six Tax Filing Mistakes to Avoid this Year


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The IRS is a stickler for details as it reviews your tax returns each year. It looks for any entry that makes this year's return markedly different from last year's.

If it finds discrepancies, it could set your return aside for review or even an audit. You can ensure yours is accepted and processed smoothly by avoiding these noticeable tax filing mistakes this year.

Mathematical Errors

Something as simple as math error could lead to your return not being accepted and processed. The IRS runs your return through a computer system that checks all of its computations. If it detects even the slightest of miscalculation, the computer could flag your return for review.

Before you submit your taxes, make sure all of your numbers add up and are factual. Use a calculator if need be to ensure that your math is correct. The IRS does not overlook or appreciate math errors on returns and will refuse to process yours until the miscalculation is reviewed and adjusted.

Wrong Bank Account Details

Making a mistake when inputting your bank account information will cost you more than it will the IRS. The IRS will send your refund to the wrong bank or wrong account. When you report the error, you must then wait another six weeks for a paper check to be mailed to you.

Avoid this refund disaster by double and triple checking your bank routing and account number as well as the bank's correct name if requested on your return. This precaution guarantees that you get your refund without delay or hassle.

Failing to Report Income

The IRS knows better than you how much you make each year. Your calculations might be fuzzy; however, the federal government knows to the penny what kind of income you brought in last year.

Why bother hiding the fact that you received this money by omitting it from your tax return? To save yourself an embarrassing, expensive, and legally troublesome audit, make sure you report all earnings from:

  • self-employment
  • lottery winnings
  • investments
  • cash gifts over the stipulated IRS amount
  • inheritances
The IRS receives the same tax form as you. It will cross reference your return with those forms to verify your income. If you fail to report your money, you will be subject to review and punishments that could range from a fine to jail time.

Filing Status Error

The IRS will also review your filing status on your return. If your status changes from last year, the government will wonder why and review your return to review the matter further.

Of course, you might have a legitimate reason for changing your filing status, such as getting married or divorced. Still, if the IRS suspects your filing status is wrong, your return could be subject to further screening and possible rejection.

Failure to Sign

Another simple yet regrettable way to get your return set aside or rejected involves not signing it. You must sign your return before you send it to the IRS. Without a signature, it cannot be processed.

If your signature is missing, the IRS will reject it and send it back to you for a redo. Save yourself the trouble by making sure you sign before submitting it.

Missing the Filing Deadline

Finally, the IRS will zero in on your return if you file and submit it past the April deadline. That deadline normally is April 15.

However, depending on the year, it may fall a few days after to allow for weekends or federal holidays like Emancipation Day. Check the calendar and make sure you file your return by this year's deadline. If you submit it late, you could set yourself up for rejection of your return or a fine.

The IRS can reject or set your return aside for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons involve mistakes that you could avoid before you file and send in your taxes. Save yourself the frustration and embarrassment of an IRS review, audit, or penalty by avoiding these top six tax filing errors.

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