Common Tax Mistakes To Know If You Haven’t Filed Yet

The following is a guest post by Matt Robinson, a tax accountant at Tax Debt Help, LLC. Matt’s firm specializes in providing help with tax debt for State and Federal taxes.

When filing your taxes this year you should be aware of some of the most common tax mistakes that people make. Making even one error can cause you a larger tax bill, a smaller return, a delay in your refund or set you up for a dreaded IRS audit. Before sending in your returns make sure to check for the following: 

Math Errors
Double and triple check your math. While more and more people are using tax preparation software that automatically does this for you, surprisingly a good number of people are still filing their taxes the old fashioned way onpaper. One of the most common mistakes people make when filing their taxes is in the math.

Personal Information
Make sure you have entered the correct social security numbers, the correct address and correct filing status. Believe it or not some people will even forget to fill in this information all together. Incorrect or missing information can cause a huge delay in your return.

Refund Information
If you are receiving a refund and opt to have your money directly deposited into your account, make sure you have the correct account and routing number. Being just one number off can cause you a huge headache.

All Required Documentation
Make sure that you have included with your return all required documentation like your W-2’s and 1099’s. If the IRS cannot verify your information they will not be able to process your return. Along with this always make surethat you have back up documentation for all deductions and credits you are claiming.

Deductions and Credits
Take the time to know what deductions and credits you are entitled to. Every year tax payers miss millions of dollars in deductions that they have a right to. Some of the most common ones that are missed are children and other dependents, child care, student loan and tuition deductions, moving expenses and alimony or child support payments.

Charitable Contributions
Be careful when it comes to your charitable contribution deductions. While it is important to take the deductions that you are entitled to, this area is often abused and can be a red flag for tax audits. Make sure you only claim charitable contributions that went to legitimate organizations that are tax exempt. Also be careful in calculating the amount of charitable donations like clothing and household items. New regulations require that theseitems are in good or better condition. Make sure you always get a receipt and do not claim anything you do not have a receipt for. If you donate any one item with a value over $200.00 you will need the charitable organizationto write you a letter.

Income Reporting
Double check and make sure you have reported all of your income. Failure to report all of your income can be a costly mistake that you will want to avoid. Make sure you include all earnings even those you did not receive a 1099 for.

Business Deductions
If you own a business be careful about your business deductions. Make sure you claim only expenses that are ordinary and necessary for your business. Also, if you plan to write off mileage for you business, make sure you havea mileage log for the year with accurate documentation. Finally, keep a copy of your return and documentation of all deductions. If you are audited you will want to have all this information ready and available at your fingertips.

3 Responses to Common Tax Mistakes To Know If You Haven’t Filed Yet
  1. paranoidasteroid
    April 13, 2010 | 4:34 pm

    And don’t forget the biggest one – remember to sign your return if you’re not e-filing!

  2. IRS tax returns problems
    May 16, 2012 | 7:10 am

    I absolutely agree. There is something else I would like to mention. When you have to file more than one return, make sure you mail each return in a separate envelope. Otherwise the IRS will only process one of the enclosed documents. I don’t think anybody knows why, but this is is how it works.

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