Loathing taxes is a natural thing. It’s easy to forget – or simply enter the wrong information on your tax forms. The Internal Revenue Service has issued some tips and a series of videos to help filers avoid the common mistakes that could delay returns or even generate an audit. Here’s a list of a few of the most common errors:
Everyone can spell their own name, right? Well, no. Your tax forms will not be accepted if your name is not entered exactly as it is appears on your Social Security card. This often is a problem for new wives.
Many women change their names when they marry. Spouses in same-sex marriages, which the IRS now recognizes, also often change their names. If you didn’t advise Social Security of your name change after your wedding, you need to do so now. That way, your new name won’t cause a problem if you file a joint tax return.
And if things don’t work out and you change your name after the divorce, make sure the appropriate agencies know that, too.
Incorrect Social Security Numbers.
The same goes for your Social Security number. Your tax filing will go south quickly if the Social Security number you entered is incorrect.
Wrong filing statuses.
Always choose the appropriate filing status (single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household and widow or widower with dependent child). Married taxpayers most often file jointly, but there are often great benefits found in filing separately.
Double check your equations on all tax forms and make sure you enter your information in the right section. Filing electronically with online tax software may help you catch some of the errors, but double check the software’s math as well.
If you’re still filing paper forms, verify you’re sending the documents to the Correct IRS location. The IRS offers a list of where to file paper tax returns.
Don’t forget to sign your return. If you’re married filing jointly, both spouses need to sign and date the return. E-filers can request personal identification numbers at irs.gov.
In addition to your W2, make sure you have included all the schedules and forms in order (the sequence number appears in the upper right hand corner of each form). If you’re requesting a payment agreement, you also have to attach Form 9645.
Not asking for more time.
If you need more time to get your paperwork in order, you can request a six month extension by filing Form 4868 electronically or by paper. Getting the extension will help you avoid late filing penalties, but payments are still due by April 17. So if you owe, consider paying by debit card or credit card.
Keep a copy for your records.
Whether you ship your return electronically or through the mail you should keep a copy for your personal records. It is wise to keep two copies – one in some safe repository and the other on your computer, for example.
Don’t answer questions from the IRS.
You should always strive to be social and courteous when dealing with the IRS, but if the IRS comes to your home or business, you have the right to decline to speak about your status. Tell them to talk to your representative. Take their business card and be polite – but firm. You’ll only hurt yourself if you try to represent yourself, and it’s not worth the risk that you’ll say the wrong thing.
If you need help call Tax Help MD at 888-632-4506.