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5 Common Tax-Filing Mistakes You Should Avoid


April 7, 2017

Are You Making These Common Tax-Filing Mistakes?

Whether you’ve already filed your taxes or you’re procrastinating until April 18, keeping these common tax-filing mistakes in mind can prepare you for the future.

5 Common Tax-Filing Mistakes You Should Avoid

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Using software can help you avoid errors, but it won’t ensure you’re transposing correctly. Refer to these tips as you file to avoid sending through a mistake that delays your return:

          1. Inaccurate Social Security number

This may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s worth the mention – the Internal Revenue Service advises you make certain that all Social Security numbers you input while filing match the exact number found on your Social Security card. If you make this mistake, it will take longer for the IRS to process and deliver your return.

          2. Incorrect filing status

Have you been married or divorced in the last year? These questions will come up while you’re filing your taxes, so be sure to fill out your status correctly.

“The filing status is determined by the current status on Dec. 31, author Abby Eisenkraft told AARP. “So if you got married on New Year’s Eve, you’re married all year. If you got divorced on New Year’s Eve, you’re single all year.”

Filing incorrectly can affect your tax bill and can result in a rejected return. If you’re unsure about your current status and you’re filling out a paper return, use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool. If you’re using tax software, follow the software prompts to determine your correct filing status.

          3. Wrong routing or account number

If you fail to fill out your routing or account number for direct deposit correctly, you won’t receive your funds – and worse, they might deposit into someone else’s bank account. According to David Selig, founder of TrueTaxHelp.com, the problem is more common than you think:

“I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about the government depositing refunds into the wrong account,” he told AARP.

If the IRS notices the mistake, however, they may pull it back and send you a check instead, but this will delay your refund. If you notice a mistake, contact the IRS and your bank immediately.

          4. Incorrect health care reporting

According to the IRS, health care reporting errors happen all of the time – one of the most common errors is failing to claim a coverage exemption. The site states that “If you don’t have qualifying health care coverage but meet certain criteria, you might be eligible to claim an exemption from coverage and avoid an unnecessary payment when you file your tax return.”

If you did not have coverage all year, review the exemptions carefully. There are exemptions for a surprising number of situations, and claiming one would reduce or eliminate your penalty.

          5. Missing signatures

You might be so overwhelmed about filing that you forget to enter one of the most vital pieces of information – your signature. According to Bankrate, if your taxes are not signed and dated correctly – whether they’re written or e-filed – the IRS won’t process your return. If you’re using tax filing software and will be e-filing, you’ll be signing your document with a PIN (personal identification number). To confirm your identity from your PIN, you will be required to provide the previous years’ PIN and adjusted gross income.  If you’re mailing a paper return, regardless of whether it was prepared by hand or using tax software, give the document a quick scan to ensure you’ve filled it out in its entirety and be sure you and your spouse, if this is a joint return, sign where indicated.

Do you have any questions regarding these tax-filing mistakes? Would you like to discuss the matter further? If so, please contact me, Amy Van Fossen, at 201-806-3364.