Avoid These Errors Commonly Seen by the IRS
People who file their own taxes sometimes worry about making a big mistake that might result in an audit – or in short-changing themselves from a deserved tax refund. But the IRS says that it’s often the little problems that cause headaches for citizens. Below are five common errors for you to avoid this tax season:
- Names or numbers that don’t match Social Security records. When entering SSNs for anyone listed on your tax return, be sure to double-check that each digit is correct. People also sometimes incorrectly enter dependents’ last names, often due to a misspelling or using a family surname instead of the name on the dependent’s Social Security card.
- Filing status errors. There are five filing statuses: Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household, and Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child. Refer to Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information, to determine which status best fits your situation.
- Math and computation errors. When preparing paper returns, review all math for accuracy – or file electronically, so the software does the calculations for you! Many taxpayers also make mistakes when figuring their taxable income, withholding, and estimated payments, or exemptions and deductions due to the Earned Income or Child and Dependent Care Tax Credits, Standard Deduction for Age 65 or Over, or the taxable amount of their Social Security benefits.
- Incorrect bank account numbers for direct deposit. When asking for your refund via direct deposit, be sure to double-check your bank routing and account numbers before you submit your return. Most people choose direct deposit because it’s a faster option, but there’s nothing fast about having to track down and correct bank errors!
- Forgetting to sign and date the return. Just as an unsigned check is invalid, so is an unsigned tax return. You need to sign your own return, and both spouses must sign a joint return. When you e-file, you will be prompted to verify your electronic signature by using a Personal Identification Number and your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) from last year’s electronic return. Remember, do not use an AGI amount from an amended return, Form 1040X, or a math-error correction made by IRS.
Saving on Expat Tax Services and Returns
Creating an error-free tax return is just one of many items to consider when filing your expat tax returns. Fortunately, we have a blog post to help with that. And if you are looking for ways to reduce your expat tax liability or you have any questions about our expat tax services, please contact us.