Avoid Common Tax Return Errors
At the close of each tax filing season, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) compiles a list of the most common errors taxpayers make when filing their tax returns. Believe it or not, incorrect mathematical calculations are not the number one error. The most frequent culprit for the past several years is incorrect Social Security numbers being submitted on individual income tax returns.
When an incorrect return is filed, the IRS first "rejects" it then sends a notice to the taxpayer requesting additional information. This can delay a refund by several weeks, or even months. In other instances, the IRS may issue a refund to you, but for a lesser amount than what you were expecting. This may occur when a claimed dependent has a missing or incorrect Social Security number, or when another taxpayer claims the same dependent.
Another reason you may receive a reduced refund is if you are eligible to claim a tax credit for child and dependent care expenses but you do not include the Social Security number of your caregiver on your tax return. The IRS will issue your refund, less the amount of the credit. You will then have to file an amended return and wait several more weeks for the rest of your money. All this can be avoided if care is given when entering required information on you return.
Other details to keep in mind when filing your taxes this year include:
• Remember to sign your return in the proper place. If you are filing a joint tax return with a spouse, both of you must sign. If one spouse has passed away during the year, the surviving spouse must sign both names.
• Attach Copy B of all Forms W-2 received during the year to the federal return. Also attach any Forms 1099 that report tax withholding.
• Mail your return to the proper address. The IRS often changes the address for mailing returns. If the IRS sent you a tax booklet, use the enclosed envelope. If you have a balance due, you must use a payment voucher and mail your return to a lock box instead of the service center. If you electronically file your return, the chance of mailing your return to the wrong service center is virtually eliminated.
• Check the accuracy of all the Social Security numbers entered on your tax return. Each person for whom you claim a personal exemption is required to have a Social Security number or some other taxpayer identification number. Make sure the name and number appear just as they do on the officially-issued Social Security card.
• If you owe money this year, make your check payable to the "United States Treasury Service" not the "IRS."
• Double check the tax from the tax tables, as well as all calculations.
• Make a copy of the return for your records.
• Be certain there is enough postage on the envelope. Include your full return address. If you owe, it's a good idea to spend the extra dollars and use certified mail - return receipt requested so there is a record that the IRS received your return.
Taking a few minutes to double check your tax return before you send it to the IRS, whether you mail it or electronically file, will ensure your refund is issued in a timely manner.
This article is brought to you by Peter Tuttle, CPA. You may contact me by sending an e-mail via the link to the right of the blog page. Please visit my website at http://www.petertuttlecpa.com/
"I help individuals, families, small-businesses & non-profits with their income tax & insurance needs."
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