Nobody’s perfect. Mistakes happen. But if you make a mistake on your tax return, it will likely take the IRS longer to process it. That could delay your refund. The best way to avoid errors is to use IRS e-file. Paper filers are about 20 times more likely to make a mistake than e-filers. IRS e-file is the most accurate way to file your tax return.
Here are eight common tax-filing errors to avoid:
1. Wrong or missing Social Security numbers. Be sure you enter all SSNs on your tax return exactly as they are on the Social Security cards.
2. Wrong names. Be sure you spell the names of everyone on your tax return exactly as they are on their Social Security cards.
3. Filing status errors. Some people use the wrong filing status, such as Head of Household instead of Single. The Interactive Tax Assistant on IRS.gov can help you choose the right status. If you e-file, the tax software helps you choose.
4. Math mistakes. Double-check your math. For example, be careful when you add or subtract or figure items on a form or worksheet. Tax preparation software does all the math for e-filers.
5. Errors in figuring credits or deductions. Many filers make mistakes figuring their Earned Income Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit, and the standard deduction. If you’re not e-filing, follow the instructions carefully when figuring credits and deductions. For example, if you’re age 65 or older or blind, be sure you claim the correct, higher standard deduction.
6. Wrong bank account numbers. You should choose to get your refund by direct deposit. Be sure to use the right routing and account numbers on your return. The fastest and safest way to get your tax refund is to combine e-file with direct deposit.
7. Forms not signed. An unsigned tax return is like an unsigned check – it’s not valid. Both spouses must sign a joint return.
8. Electronic filing PIN errors. When you e-file, you sign your return electronically with a Personal Identification Number. If you know last year’s e-file PIN, you can use that. If you don’t know it, enter the Adjusted Gross Income from the 2013 tax return that you originally filed with the IRS. Do not use the AGI amount from an amended return or a return that the IRS corrected.