Filing taxes 101: Common errors taxpayers should avoid

Mistakes can result in processing delays, which can mean it takes more time to get a refund.

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Some easy ways to avoid mistakes are tofile electronically – the electronic system can immediately mark errors that would normally not be caught until reviewed a later date. In addition, using a reputable tax preparer – including knowledgeable tax lawyers at our offices – can also help avoid errors.

Here are some common errors to avoid when preparing a tax return according to the IRS:

Missing or inaccurate Social Security numbers. Each SSN on a tax return should appear exactly as printed on the Social Security card.

Misspelled names. Likewise, a name listed on a tax return should match the name on that person’s Social Security card.

Incorrect filing status. Some taxpayers choose the wrong filing status. The Interactive Tax Assistant on can help taxpayers choose the correct status especially if more than one filing status applies.  Tax software also helps prevent mistakes with filing status.

Math mistakes. Math errors are one of the most common mistakes. They range from simple addition and subtraction to more complex calculations. Taxpayers should always double check their math. Better yet, tax prep software does it automatically.

Figuring credits or deductions. Taxpayers can make mistakes figuring things like their earned income tax credit, child and dependent care credit, and the standard deduction. Taxpayers should always follow the instructions carefully. The Interactive Tax Assistant can help determine if a taxpayer is eligible for tax credits or deductions. Attach any required forms and schedules.

Incorrect bank account numbers. Taxpayers who are due a refund – direct deposit is the fastest way for a taxpayer to get their money. However, taxpayers need to make sure they use the correct routing and account numbers on their tax return.

Unsigned forms. An unsigned tax return isn’t valid…period. In most cases, both spouses must sign a joint return. Exceptions may apply for members of the armed forces or other taxpayers who have a valid power of attorney Taxpayers can avoid this error by filing their return electronically and digitally signing it before sending it to the IRS.

Filing with an expired individual tax identification number. If a taxpayer’s ITIN is expired, they should go ahead and file using the expired number. The IRS will process that return and treat it as a return filed on time. However, the IRS won’t allow any exemptions or credits to a return filed with an expired ITIN. Taxpayers will receive a notice telling the taxpayer to renew their number. Once the taxpayer renews the ITIN, the IRS will process return normally.

Is the IRS taxing your nerves? We can help! Contact our office at 816-524-4949 or visit our website: to schedule a consultation today!

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