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Tax-Time Errors Filers Should Avoid

IRS Tax Tip 2011-63, March 30, 2011

Mistakes on tax returns mean they take longer to process, which in turn, may cause your refund to arrive later. The IRS cautions against these nine common errors so your refund is timely.

  1. Incorrect or missing Social Security Numbers When entering SSNs for anyone listed on your tax return, be sure to enter them exactly as they appear on the Social Security cards.

  2. Incorrect or misspelling of dependent’s last name When entering a dependent’s last name on your tax return, ensure they are entered exactly as they appear on their Social Security card.

  3. Filing status errors Make sure you choose the correct filing status for your situation. There are five filing statuses: Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household, and Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child. See Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information to determine the filing status that best fits your needs.

  4. Math errors When preparing paper returns, review all math for accuracy. Or file electronically; the software does the math for you!

  5. Computation errors Take your time. Many taxpayers make mistakes when figuring their taxable income, withholding and estimated tax payments, Earned Income Tax Credit, Standard Deduction for age 65 or over or blind, the taxable amount of Social Security benefits, and the Child and Dependent Care Credit.

  6. Incorrect bank account numbers for Direct Deposit If you are due a refund and requested direct deposit review the routing and account numbers for your financial institution.

  7. Forgetting to sign and date the return An unsigned tax return is like an unsigned check – it is invalid. And, remember on joint returns both taxpayers must sign the return.

  8. Incorrect Adjusted Gross Income information Taxpayers filing electronically must sign the return electronically using a Personal Identification Number. To verify their identity, taxpayers will be prompted to enter their AGI from their originally filed 2009 federal income tax return or their prior year PIN if they used one to file electronically last year. Taxpayers should not use an AGI amount from an amended return, Form 1040X, or a math error correction made by IRS.

  9. Claiming the Making Work Pay Tax Credit Taxpayers who file Form 1040 or 1040A will use Schedule M to figure the Making Work Pay Tax Credit. Completing Schedule M will help taxpayers determine whether they have already received the full credit in their paycheck or are due more money as a result of the credit. Taxpayers who file Form 1040-EZ should use the worksheet for Line 8 on the back of the 1040-EZ to figure their Making Work Pay Credit.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 04-Nov-2013