Filing an accurate tax return is one of the most important business practices for tax preparers. Making an error on a client’s return will likely cause a longer processing time for the IRS and a delayed refund for the taxpayer.
As you enter the final weeks of tax season, don’t let the filing rush cause you to make careless mistakes when preparing returns. Take some time now to review this IRS list of common tax-filing errors. It will save you time and possibly headaches later.
- Wrong or missing Social Security numbers. Be sure the numbers you enter match the Social Security card exactly.
- Wrong names. Likewise, check the spelling of names. They should be spelled exactly the same as the Social Security card.
- Filing status errors. Select the right filing status. Tax preparation software can help you make the correct choice.
- Math mistakes. Check your calculations. Again, tax software can help you out here!
- Errors in figuring tax credits or deductions. The Earned Income Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit and the standard deduction cause many errors. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully.
- Incorrect bank account numbers. Direct deposit is the easiest and most convenient way to get a refund. However, check the routing and account numbers on the tax return to make sure they are accurate.
- Forms not signed. An unsigned tax return is not valid. Joint returns must be signed by both spouses.
- Electronic filing PIN errors. A personal identification number is used to sign a return electronically. If you don’t know it, enter the adjusted gross income from the 2014 tax return but don’t use the amount from an amended or corrected return.
- Health care reporting errors. Failing to claim a coverage exemption and not reconciling advance payments of the premium tax credit are the most common errors.
Remember, take your time with each tax return!