We’ve heard some stories from taxpayers who’ve tried to file tax forms by hand. A small mistake can draw the watchful eye of the IRS, who could ask you to file a tax amendment. That’s why we recommend that you file taxes online.
With the introduction of the IRS’s free e-file filing option in 1986, the amount of errors the IRS found each year went down by 90%. However, it did not eliminate all errors. The most common errors still seen on tax returns are the ones that can be easily overlooked, especially when you handwrite your taxes. Most are a matter of numbers being placed in the wrong box or on the wrong line, simple calculation errors, or typos. Know these common tax return mistakes so you can avoid having to file an amendment.
Common Tax Return Errors
Many taxpayers are unaware they have an error on their tax return until the IRS sends them a notice. The most common mistakes on tax returns include:
- Numbers input incorrectly – If your income was $35,000 and you added an extra zero—as nice as it is on paper, the IRS has a way of understanding that as a mistake. Take a look at your social security number and make sure that it has been entered correctly.
- Miscalculations – Numbers or calculations being input incorrectly, most commonly the EITC credit
- Misspelled Names or Incorrect Names – Be sure to use the name and spelling that are used on previous years’ returns. If you changed your name due to marriage, or will be included on someone else’s return for the first time, be sure to have documentation stored with your tax-related documents.
- Credit or Deduction Claim Errors – When you claim a credit or deduction, taxpayers must be aware of what other credits can be and cannot be claimed with it.
- Missing Information – Leaving off information because you either forgot about the form, or weren’t aware it needed to be claimed is other popular mistake.
- Incorrect Mailing Address – It may be a surprise, but sometimes missing returns are due to the address being incorrectly labelled on your envelop.
One of the easiest ways to prevent some of the mistakes above is to be prepared for tax season. We have a handy guide that can assist with getting organized, and ensuring you have all the documentation you may need. Another useful tip is to have a copy of your previous year’s return handy when you’re getting ready to file your current year’s return.
Use a Tax Preparation Software or Service
Using a tax preparation software can reduce your chances for an error on your tax return as well. Your tax situation and return is handled through a series of interview-style questions, and the software does the calculations for you. The software also handles credit and deduction compatibilities, and allows you to e-file or print once you’ve finished creating your return. If you are intimidated by taxes, consider a tax preparation service to handle your tax preparation needs.
What if I made an error on my tax return?
In the unfortunate chance you made a mistake on your return, don’t worry, correcting tax return errors usually are an easy process. We suggest consulting with a tax professional who can walk you through correcting the mistake and filing a Form 1040x, the IRS’ Amended Tax Return form.
We understand that filing your taxes can be stressful and we’re here to help make the process easier. We have you covered no matter your tax situation, and provide wonderful resources on The Daily Deduction all year long. If you enjoyed this article or found it helpful, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get more articles like this posted directly to your timeline or newsfeed! You can also share this stress-relieving info with your social network or friends by clicking on the share buttons above or below.