Person carefully filing their taxes to avoid making mistakes

5 Common Tax-Filing Mistakes to Avoid

With all the complicated forms to fill out and all the tax law changes that happen each year, it is easy for people to make errors on their income taxes. Errors can result in people not getting back the money they deserve or under paying and incurring interest and penalties. Before you submit your taxes this year, make sure you check to be sure you have not made any of these common tax-filing mistakes.

  1. Math Errors
    If you are filling in paper forms yourself, it is all too easy to make an addition error or to add the wrong lines together. Using online tax software does reduce the risk, but it does not eliminate it. You could still enter a number from the wrong line on your tax form, or you could accidentally enter a number backwards. Take your time when filling in the numbers and be sure to double check them when you are done.
  2. Missing Information
    When filling in tax forms, be sure you do not accidentally skip over information that you need to include, such as your signature or your social security number. The IRS cannot process your tax return without these items, and forgetting them could cause your return to be delayed or rejected. Be very careful to fill in every box that applies to you.
  3. Incorrect Information
    While it may be tempting to under report your earnings or guess when you do not know which number to put in a box, filling out your taxes accurately is essential. Always look up amounts that you do not know and save your receipts and copies of tax forms in your records. Also, be sure that all of your identifying information such as your name, address, and bank account information are correct as well. If you enter the wrong contact information, you risk your money going to the wrong address or bank account instead.
  4. Skipped Credits and Deductions
    Tax laws aren’t the only things that change every year; your lifestyle probably changes as well. When you get married, buy a house, have children or enroll your children in school, you become eligible for additional tax breaks that you did not receive before. Be sure to research all of the credits and deductions that you are eligible for every year, as they can change significantly from one year to the next.
  5. Incorrect Status
    Your credits and deductions are not the only things on your tax return that change; your status can change too. If you got divorced in the last year, for example, you will need a new filing status, whether single or head of household. Also, you may alternate between taking the standard or itemized deductions depending on what would be the most helpful for you that year.

Even if you are tempted to rush through your taxes, take your time and do them correctly. Avoiding these five common tax errors is a great way to get more money back in your pocket each April.

Last Updated: February 23, 2017