IRS Tax Tip 2019-43, April 17, 2019
Just like taxpayers who file their taxes by the April deadline, those who filed an extension should also do everything to make sure their tax return is complete and accurate. Errors on a tax return can mean it will take longer for the IRS to process the return, which in turn, could delay a refund.
Taxpayers should remember they can avoid many common errors by filing electronically or by using IRS Free File. Filing electronically is the most accurate way to file a tax return.
Taxpayers who filed an extension and who are filing their taxes this summer should avoid making these common errors:
- Missing or inaccurate Social Security numbers. The taxpayer should be sure to enter each SSN on a tax return exactly as printed on the Social Security card.
- Misspelled names. Taxpayers should spell all names listed on a tax return exactly as listed on the individuals’ Social Security cards.
- Filing status. Some taxpayers claim the wrong filing status, such as Head of Household instead of Single. The Interactive Tax Assistant on IRS.gov can help taxpayers choose the correct status. E-file software also helps prevent these mistakes.
- Math mistakes. Math errors are common on paper returns. These can range from simple addition and subtraction to more complex calculations. Taxpayers should always double check their math. Better yet, they should consider filing electronically. Tax preparation software does all the math automatically.
- Mistakes made when figuring credits. Taxpayers can make mistakes when figuring things like their Earned Income Tax Credit and Child and Dependent Care Credit. Taxpayers should follow the instructions carefully, and double check the information they enter when filing electronically. The IRS Interactive Tax Assistant can help determine if a taxpayer is eligible for certain tax credits.
- Incorrect bank account numbers. Taxpayers who are due a refund should choose direct deposit as this will get their money right in their bank account. However, the IRS cautions taxpayers to use the right routing and account numbers on the tax return. It’s a good idea to double and triple check the numbers they enter.
- Unsigned forms. An unsigned tax return isn’t valid. Both spouses must sign a joint return. Taxpayers can avoid this error by filing their return electronically and digitally signing it before sending it to the IRS. Taxpayers who are using a tax software product for the first time will need their adjusted gross income from their 2017 tax return to file electronically. Taxpayers who are using the same tax software they used last year usually will not need to enter prior-year information to electronically sign their 2018 tax return.
- An expired ITIN. The IRS treats a return filed with an expired Individual Tax Identification Number as filed on time, but there may be delays in processing it. Taxpayers will receive a notice explaining that an ITIN must be current before the IRS will pay a refund. Once the taxpayer renews the ITIN, the IRS will process the tax return and pay any allowed refund.