Making a mistake on your tax return will make the IRS take longer to process it. The bottom line of this means that it will take longer for you to get a tax refund because the IRS will have to contact you. This is especially true for taxpayers who are filing on the later October 15 extension time frame.
E-File Preferred to Paper Filing
The IRS has posted notices online to remind filers that e-filing their tax return greatly lowers the chance of errors that by mailing in a paper copy of a tax return. According to the IRS, taxpayers are about twenty times more likely to make a mistake on their return if they file a paper return instead of e-filing their return with a provider such as TurboTax. TurboTax and other efiling software also allows a taxpayer to file a return on the later October 15th deadline if the circumstances requires.
Here are eight common errors to avoid on your tax returns when submitting them before October 15:
- Using the rong or missing Social Security numbers will cause many problems. This is why it is very important to be sure you enter SSNs for yourself and others on your tax return appear exactly as they are on the original Social Security cards.
- A taxpayers names are wrong or misspelled. Again, it is very important that you are sure you enter names of all individuals on your tax return exactly as they are on their Social Security cards.
- Math mistakes are also very common. If you file a paper tax return instead of efiling, double check the math more than once! If you e-file, the software does the math for you which generally eliminates mistakes. This is particulary important when entering information such as social security benefit information.
- Filing status errors also slow down tax refunds. Choose the right filing status and the IRS will not need to contact you. There are five filing statuses: Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child. E-filing software such as TurboTax will ask you questions to ensure that you are using the right status.
- Not signing or dating a return can cause big delays. An unsigned tax return is like an unsigned check – it’s invalid and will be returned.. Remember both spouses must sign a joint return in order for the return to be valid
- Errors in figuring credits, deductions. Many filers make mistakes figuring their Earned Income Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit and the standard deduction. Check information on this website to make sure you actually qualify for these benefits to avoid an unnecessary IRS audit.
- Do no use wrong or inactive bank account numbers. Direct deposit is the most efficient way to receive your tax refund. Make sure you enter your bank routing and account numbers correctly so that a refund can be deposited in weeks and not months.
- If you e-file your tax return with TurboTax, you will sign the return electronically using a PIN. You can obtain this information from the IRS website.
- When getting a PIN, so not use the AGI amount from an amended 2011 return or an AGI provided to you if the IRS corrected your return.
- Double check to ensure that all the information on your tax return is truthful and accurate. This will ensure that your tax refund is not held up later beyond the October 15th extended filing deadline.