9 Tax Return Filing Errors to Avoid as a Preparer

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 cause many issues, including delaying their refund if they are due one. 

Rushing through returns can lead to simple mistakes and major headaches for you and your clients. It’s important to take your time and be detail-oriented, even during your busy season. Below is a list of common tax filing errors and what you can do to prevent them.   

Wrong or missing Social Security numbers

Make sure you enter your client’s correct Social Security number. If they don’t have their number and their spouse or dependent’s numbers memorized, encourage them to bring their cards to your office so you can make sure to enter them correctly. 

Wrong names

Make sure you spell your client’s name correctly. It should be entered exactly as it appears as on their Social Security card. Ask to view their actual card to double check. 

Filing status errors

Select the correct filing status for your client. Are they married? Are they widowed? Do they run their household alone? All of these have an impact on their filing status.  

Math mistakes

Carefully enter income and expense info into your tax software. Avoid rushing through entering your client’s information so your calculations will be correct. TaxSlayer Pro software will do the calculations for you, so you don’t have to worry about making a mathematical error. But the calculations are only accurate if the data you enter on the return is correct. 

Not including all income

Make sure that your client shares all forms they receive from their employers. This includes income for self-employed work. Make sure to ask if they receive dividends, interest, business income, social security income, and any other monetary benefits. Some clients might not know that their side hustle income is taxed, so make sure you clearly communicate all the different forms of income. 

Incorrect bank account numbers

Direct deposit is the fastest way to get a refund according to the IRS. Make sure their routing numbers are correct because it can be difficult to track down a refund that is sent to the wrong account. You can encourage your clients to use direct deposit or help them to double check their address if they would prefer to receive a check.  

Forms not signed

An unsigned tax return is not valid. Make sure your clients electronically sign their forms if they are not present at the time of filing. TaxSlayer Pro gives you the tools you need to capture digital signatures using the mobile app or the Premium software package. Joint returns must be signed by both spouses. This is especially important to double check if your clients are in the process of separating or divorcing.  

Electronic filing PIN errors

A personal identification number is used to sign a return electronically. If your client doesn’t know their PIN, enter their adjusted gross income from their prior year tax return instead.  

Not encouraging your client to review their return

When you have finished preparing your client’s return, encourage them to review all the information in detail before signing it. This will help you to avoid filing a return with a misspelled name or incorrect address, and will also give your client the peace of mind that they were able to review everything before you sent it to the IRS. TaxSlayer Pro helps you to communicate quickly and conveniently with your clients through the TaxesToGo® app