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Tax Mistakes to Avoid

March 31, 2015

Some mistakes on a tax return are more problematic than others. If you make a simple mistake such as a miscalculation, the IRS will correct it and continue processing your tax return. However, if the mistake leads to a variance in your tax liability, the IRS will ask you to pay the difference. Also, if your return is unsigned or does not have your Social Security number, the IRS will require you to correct the mistakes.

As there are only a couple of weeks left before tax season ends, taxpayers filing in a rush are more prone to making simple errors on their returns. Some common tax-filing errors that you can easily avoid are:

Wrong filing status – Entering the wrong filing status can interrupt the processing of your return. To confirm your correct filing status, you may use the IRS Interactive Tax Assistant on the IRS website: IRS.gov.

Wrong or missing social security number – If you are filing jointly, be sure to include the Social Security numbers of both you and your spouse. When reviewing your return, verify that you have entered all required Social Security numbers correctly.

Misspelled names – Before you file, check the spelling of the names you have included on the return.

Errors in tax credits and deductions – The most common mistake on tax returns involves the Earned Income Tax Credit. Follow the instructions on your tax forms to determine the correct credits and deductions. If you cannot afford to hire a return preparer, enlist free help from a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or a Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) center. At these centers, IRS-certified volunteers provide free tax preparation help to qualifying taxpayers.

PIN errors when filing electronically – When you efile your return, you sign it with your Personal Identification Number (PIN). You can use your last year’s PIN to sign your return. Alternatively, you can enter your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) from your 2013 tax return that the IRS accepted and processed.

Before filing your tax return, check the following:

  • Name(s)
  • Social Security Number
  • Filing status
  • Signature

Even if a tax professional has prepared your return, it is important that you review it before filing to ensure that it is accurate.


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