Every year, millions of people wait until the last few days ahead of the tax-filing deadline (which is April 18 this year) to file their tax return. Although they can file for an extension to get more time, many often rush to complete their returns.
People who rush to complete their tax returns are prone to make more errors. From simple failures to complete all required information to oversights that result in an overpayment of taxes, following are common tax-filing mistakes you should make sure to avoid.
Filing Tax Return Electronically
Filing your tax return electronically is the best method for eliminating common tax-filing mistakes. The tax software reduces errors by automatically performing calculations, showing common errors before the taxpayer files the return, and highlighting places where the taxpayer has not entered complete information.
Methods for filing your tax return electronically include e-file and IRS Free File.
Mailing a Paper Tax Return to the Correct Address
Before a taxpayer mails a paper tax return, they need to verify they are mailing the return to the correct address. A taxpayer can confirm the mailing address by looking at the filing information on their tax return or by confirming the mailing address for their state by visit IRS.gov.
Verifying Information Taken from the Tax Tables
If you use a tax table to calculate the tax you owe, verify you are using the correct column for the filing status you have elected.
Completing All Required Information
When completing your tax return, make sure you complete all required fields. This includes entering your Social Security Number, selecting only one filing status, and checking the appropriate exemption boxes. In addition, make sure all of the completed information is legible.
Reviewing All Calculations
If you file an electronic return, the tax software performs all calculations for you. If you are filing a paper return, double-check your math calculations to make sure you did not make any errors.
Entering the Correct Routing and Account Numbers
By requesting that the IRS pays your tax refund by direct deposit, you can receive your refund faster. For direct deposit, you must provide your bank’s routing number along with your account number. If you do not information this information accurately, it can delay the receipt of your refund or result in it being deposited into the incorrect account.
Signing and Dating the Return
You must sign and date your tax return. If you are filing a joint return, both taxpayers must sign the return.
Including All Required Forms
If you are filing a paper tax return, you must include your W-2s and all other required forms.
Maintaining a Copy of Your Tax Return
Once you have completed your tax return and are ready to file it, make a copy of your entire return and all supporting documents for your records. In the event your return is lost, having a copy will ease resubmission of your return.
Requesting a Filing Extension
If you cannot file your tax return by the April 18 deadline, request an extension to avoid being assessed late fees. You can request an extension by using Free File or submitting Form 4868.
Remember that even if you receive an extension, you must still pay an estimate for any tax due by the April 18 deadline.
Where can I get help in filing my last-minute tax return?
If you still need to file your tax return, you should speak with a tax attorney. A tax attorney will be able to recommend to you whether you should file for an extension or can complete your return by the normal filing deadline. Whenever you file your return, a tax attorney can make sure you do not make mistakes that may lead to you overpaying your taxes.
By calling the phone number above or completing the form below, you can speak with a tax attorney to get the help you need. The first consultation is free of charge, so you have every reason to start working with a tax attorney today.
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Mark has been a contributor to legal web sites related to bankruptcy, tax, and criminal law since 2011. He has an Accounting degree from Texas A&M University.