With that awful April deadline looming, many people are getting a jump on preparing for their filings. If you are one of the millions of Americans that are filing early to get it done and over with, you might wonder what some common reason for delays or rejections are. Here’s a list of ten of the most common mistakes people make in their tax rush.
1. You Mess Up The Easy Stuff
Things like names and social security numbers need to be checked and rechecked for accuracy. Make sure the filing status is right, particularly if you’re single and qualify for head of household. These are all common reasons for rejections.
2. Entering Items On The Wrong Line
Make sure that if you’re filling out paper copies or Fillable Forms that you’re entering information in the right fields. Be sure your “rollover” or “contributions” on a line meant for “distributions” for example. Most tax software error checks this, but if you are preparing your own taxes, double-check.
3. Not Entering Info As It’s Been Reported To You
All taxable wages, dividends, and interest that you’ve earned and received a W2, 1099, or similar form for, needs to be reported. Enter the numbers carefully, and if you spot a mistake, you should report it to the issuer for a correction.
4. Taking The Standard Deduction Without Thinking
Many people take the standard deduction because it’s easier. However, in some situations, these people may be missing out on possible deductions by itemizing.
5. Missing Write-Offs
If you do itemize, be sure you are claiming all of the deductions that you are eligible for. Keep track of all your expenses and receipts, so that nothing is forgotten or missed. Don’t cost yourself money.
6. Skipping The State Healthcare Mandate
If your state has an individual healthcare mandate, do not skip it. The federal requirement has been eliminated, but a handful of states still require it.
7. Botching Negative Numbers
Do not use a minus sign for negative numbers. To list an amount as negative, use brackets. This is a common source of errors for Fillable Forms, but reputable tax filing software will automatically format the numbers correctly.
8. Not Paying Your Amount Due Correctly
If you owe, make sure you get credit for your payments. Include your 1040-V with your payment, whether e-filing or filing my mail. Payments can be made via federal free payment sites. The IRS also has a shortlist of authorized payment providers.
9. Forgetting To Tell The IRS How To Pay You
This one is important. If the IRS owes you money, make sure you take the initiative to list your payment preference. If you do not list your preferred payment method, they will automatically send a paper check, and who needs those delays, right?
10. Check For Typos
This is both spelling typos, as well as accuracy. Always take a few minutes to review your entire return, so that any potential mistakes are caught before they cost you time & money.