Many Americans unknowingly make mistakes when filing their taxes. To avoid common mistakes when filing your taxes, tax-filing software is a great tool to use. In fact, e-filing may be one of the most accurate ways to file your taxes.
However, even with software guidelines in place, it’s easy to make a mistake. If you want to complete your tax return without a hitch, here are the most common mistakes when filing taxes.
Not filing taxes on time
According to H&R Block, 45 million taxpayers waited until April to file their taxes. Even if you file your taxes close to the deadline you won’t face the financial consequences of not filing your taxes at on time.
In fact, the penalty for not filing your taxes is 10 times greater than the penalty for not paying your taxes in full.
The best way to avoid this common mistake is either to prepare you taxes well in advance or file an extension. It’s important to note that even if you file an extension, you’re required to make timely tax payments.
You’re required to pay at least 90% of your tax bill to not face penalties.
Most Common Tax Preparation Mistakes
Keep in mind, this year, the tax filing deadline is Tuesday, April 17th.
Absent or incorrect Social Security numbers
Even if you have your Social Security number memorized, it’s simple to mistype a few numbers. Common errors include entering entering the incorrect Social Security number for your child or spouse.
If you’re unsure of your number, compare it to your Social Security card for accuracy.
It may seem impossible to misspell your own name, but it’s easy to misspell your dependents or spouse’s names. All names on your tax return must match the individuals’ Social Security card.
If you find your Social Security card has incorrect information on the card you can contact the Social Security Administration a for correction.
Filing status errors
Some taxpayers file their tax return under the incorrect status. The five statuses include, Single, Head of Household, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, and Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child.
If you’re unsure of your filing status, this comprehensive guide can point you in the right direction.
Math mistakes are common errors on tax returns. Mistakes can range from simple addition and subtraction mistakes to more complex calculations.
If you’re filing a paper return, make sure to review your documentation with a fine-toothed comb for accuracy.
Using a tax filing software will assist in eliminating these mistakes by doing the math for you.
Wrong bank account numbers
If you’re expecting a tax refund, the IRS recommends establishing direct deposit as a preferred payment method. Direct deposit is the fastest and easiest way to receive your money.
If you choose to go this route, make sure to double check your routing and account number.
You can find this information on the front of your check or by asking your bank.
The IRS will not process a tax return if it’s not signed by all taxpayers involved. A tax return is not valid unless signed.
When filing with your spouse, both parties must sign the form.
Assuming incorrect tax credits and deductions
The number of tax credits and deductions available. Taxpayers may assume certain credits or deductions make sense for their situation, but due to the tax code they may not apply.
Determining Earned Tax Income Credit, Dependent Care Credit, and standard deductions may be confusing to calculate.
It may be wise to enlist the advice of a tax service to help you identify the appropriate tax credits and deductions.
e-filing with an incorrect PIN
Filing your tax return electronically requires the taxpayer to provide a Personal Identification Number or a PIN.
If you are unsure of your PIN or don’t have one, you can use last year’s Adjusted Gross Income to confirm your identification.
As of 2017, taxpayers who use tax-filing software can use their prior year’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) if it’s their first time filing electronically. Don’t use the amount from an amended return or a return the IRS adjusted.
Make sure to keep all previous returns, so you have accurate records.
An Individual Tax Identification Number or ITIN is an identification number assigned by the IRS or Social Security Administration. These organizations assign ITINs to nonresident or resident aliens who are unable to obtain a Social Security Number.
The IRS will process returns with an expired ITIN, however, tax credits, refunds, and/or exemptions are left out. The IRS will send taxpayers notification of this issue.
Once the taxpayer renews the ITIN, the IRS will apply any credits and distribute the applicable refund. You can visit IRS.gov for renewal information.
How to avoid common mistakes when filing your taxes
Tax season will be here before you know it. The best ways to avoid these common tax-filing mistakes is to hire a tax preparation firm. Review and compare the top tax preparation firms to match your financial circumstances and budget.
Ashley is a personal finance writer. In addition to being a contributing writer at SuperMoney, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. When she’s not calculating her net worth or reading the hot new finance book, you might find Ashley cage diving with great white sharks in South Africa.