Face it, whether on the paying or receiving end, errors in your tax return can potentially turn your finances upside down. Incorrect entries, forms, and misinterpretations can certainly intimidate those who try to go DIY come tax time.
So, what’s the solution? You can hire an accountant or a tax-filing company to be sure your forms are accepted as filed, without delay of a refund or penalty for incorrect entries. Many individuals now use e-file services online, but without an accountant or certified professional to walk you through the process, you could run into some major issues down the road.
If you do decide to do taxes yourself, you should know the most common reasons filings are returned by the IRS, so you can hopefully avoid these nasty pitfalls.
According to business news providers, tax advocates, and accountants, you are more likely to see your tax return delayed or even rejected for the simplest of errors rather than misinterpretations of codes or instructions.
Error No. 1: Incorrect or missing social security numbers
It’s easy, especially when filing on paper, to leave a blank space, especially where your social security number goes. It is just as easy to misplace or omit a digit. You might also err in entering your spouse’s number. Some might even place their spouse’s number in the blank instead of their own. There are endless possibilities here, so it’s always good to double (and triple) check.
Error No. 2: The name does not match that on file with social security
Remember that names should appear as they do on your social security card. Of course, most of us never misspell our own names. However, we might enter the name of a spouse or dependent differently than how it appears on his or her social security card. Be diligent on this one.
Error No. 3: Incorrect filing status
Your filing status falls under one of five categories: single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, and qualifying widow or widower with a dependent. It’s important to check the definition for each filing status under the IRS instructions—available online at irs.gov—before filing.
Error No. 4: Simple math slip-ups
Missing a numeral or miscalculating a sum can result in a seriously flawed return. The IRS usually starts with reviewing your numbers. Therefore, a math mistake will quickly result in the boomerang effect when it comes to your return.
Error No. 5: Wrong tax deductions or credits
The IRS provides worksheets for credits and paper filers should take care in completing these as well as tax credit information. Reading instructions thoroughly and correctly becomes paramount to the quick processing of your return.
Error No. 6: Incorrect banking account number or routing number
For one, many digits comprise an account or routing number, which are used to receive refunds the fastest when filing online. Online programs will not be able to check your numbers. They will check you if the number of those numbers are wrong, but not if the composite of digits is wrong. So, if you don’t want your refund to go “missing in action,” this is a must when it comes to double checking.
Error No. 7: Forgetting to sign your return
Believe it or not, some people are in such a hurry to get their refund that they don’t actually sign their name in the final stages of their return. When filing jointly, one spouse’s signature is too often found missing, according to IRS data. When filing online, virtually all programs will remind you that you did not sign correctly, but you still must enter the correct ID pin when filing online.
If your status and situation allow, hire a professional
Filing with a professional accounting service, such as Long Island Tax and Accounting, will help you sidestep these common errors which can result in delays, rejections, or even monetary penalties when tax time rolls around. Save yourself time and frustration by simply allowing a professional to help you crunch the numbers and ensure you get the most out of your refund.
Depending on the complexity of your return, these common mistakes can be simply overwhelming. But with the help of the tax experts at Long Island Tax and Accounting, your tax experience will be smooth sailing.