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Must-Dos for Those Still to File Taxes

April 5, 2013

The tax deadline is closing in for taxpayers who have yet to file their taxes, which doing in haste can result in mistakes on their tax returns. It is most often in last minute filing that taxpayers make the most mistakes. Some of them are as simple as unsigned tax returns, but some of the more common mistakes the IRS encounters on tax forms add complexity and delays in processing.

Taxpayers should keep all income records and tax documents, including expenditure receipts, if they are filing estimated taxes. Check the names, Social Security Numbers, dates of birth and other details on the return carefully. Review the math, even when using the services of a tax preparer. No matter who prepares the tax return, taxpayers are advised to review the information entered on their tax forms to avoid unintentional or intentional inaccuracies.

Get a copy of your completed tax return for your records from the person who prepared them. It is important to know the Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) of a tax preparer, in case there is an audit, discrepancies, or identity theft. The PTIN helps the IRS track fraudulent tax preparers. For more information, the IRS can be reached at the toll-free number 1-800-829-1040.

Remember to sign the tax return and include your partner’s signature, if it is a joint return. The IRS receives many unsigned returns annually that it cannot review, causing a delay in the process.

Filing electronically is the best choice for filers close to the deadline because the return reaches the IRS instantly. If a refund is expected, check the status of your refund through the IRS’ “Where’s My Refund?” site. This tool also shows when the IRS received the return, when they started reviewing it, and when they sent your refund.

Spending the extra hour reviewing a return can make the difference between a smooth tax filing and a complicated mess. To avoid a penalty for filing after April 15th, taxpayers should try to file their taxes as soon as possible and correctly. If a taxpayer cannot avoid late filing, it is highly advisable to file for an extension of time.

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