10 Most Common Tax Return Mistakes To Avoid
Contributed by Joel S. Syder
25 September, 2018
People usually spend hours and hours organizing their finances to prepare their income tax return. With all that time and frustration spent on filling those forms and collecting all of your - possibly forgotten - mistakes are the last thing you need.
However, they do happen. All the time, in fact. People get tired and bored and mistakes are easy to make. Sometimes you don't even notice them while reviewing your forms. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when filing their tax returns:
Wrong social security number
This is a common mistake. There are so many numbers and if you look at it for too long you might skip a number or add a number which is not in your original social security card. People do this because this is a simple part of the form and not something you feel you can make a mistake with. However, pay special attention to this because it must match the number on your social security card.
This is another common mistake and an obvious one at that. When they ask for a figure they ask for the exact figure. Maybe you feel like a small miscalculation is not a big deal but it definitely is and you should do your math carefully. Write the exact amounts and calculate them with a calculator to make sure that everything is accurate.
A related mistake would be guessing. For example, guessing the amount of your income if you are not sure what the real, correct amount is. Guessing is not good enough. You need exact, accurate amounts.
'A common problem is people's laziness. They don't feel like checking each amount correctly so they estimate the close amount. However, even a few cents on each amount can make you a few dollars short of what it really is and you can have some real problems. ' says Janine Pertes, a financial writer from Writemyx and Origin Writings.
Missing a deadline
Missing deadlines is a real problem that could cost you. Even a day late could mean that you have to pay hundreds in fines. Avoid this and be wary of your deadlines. They are usually different for electronic and paper filing so you can make a choice. You usually have more time with electronic filing so you could maybe opt for that if you feel like you can't make it on time.
Incorrect bank account number
Your bank account number is an important part of your form and another number where people often make mistakes. Again, the number is long and it's easy to skip something or add something to it. Pay attention when writing if you want to avoid making this mistake.
Failing to claim overseas income
Some people have income coming from other countries, possibly overseas. Failing to mention that is a bad mistake because the organization in charge will be able to check it and figure out if anything is wrong. Claim all of your income, even if you think it's not that important. Remember every detail.
Not having any proof
Without the proof of your expenses, you won't be able to claim the money. The agencies and organizations in charge usually have a policy where if you don't have a proof, you can't claim and this is something you should keep in mind. Save all of your receipts, set a dedicated place - a box or a drawer - where you'll store every single receipt you have. Make sure to count everything and bring every receipt as a proof.
Not adding all information
Your finances may be complicated but you should be able to sort all of that out once you start filling the forms. Forgetting something could cost you a lot of money. You can start keeping thorough track of your finances throughout the year in a notebook so that nothing gets lost in the process. Give all the details you possibly can.
Small mistakes, like we already mentioned, can cost you a lot. Another small mistake on this list would be if you misspell a name. Make sure to check this thoroughly and ask someone to go through it to make sure that everything is accurate. 'We often witness this - people make a mistake when writing a name of the company or something similar. This isn't a huge mistake yet it can cause a lot of problems. 'says Tina Myers, a tax manager from 1Day2Write.
Filing status mistakes
Your filing status determines your filing requirements, standard deduction, correct tax, eligibility for certain deductions and so on. Choose the correct filing status to avoid spending more money than you have to.
Dealing with taxes is certainly no one's first choice for spending free time but it has to be done. Make this easier for you by keeping track of your finances throughout the year and filing the form carefully.
Joel Syder works at Academic Brits as a business analyst and writer. In his free time, he likes to help people explore the exciting field of IT and he also likes writing articles on his various interests.
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