It’s tax time, and whether you prepare your own taxes or have a professional prepare the taxes for you, don’t overlook deductions and avoid these common mistakes which will cause a delay in your refund or generate a letter from the IRS:
- Watch for Data-Entry or Math Errors. Proofread essential information including W2 and 1099 information. It’s very easy to transpose numbers.
- Avoid Misspelled or changed names. Don’t forget to spell your children’s names correctly – the IRS matches names with SS# in their database, and they don’t recognize nicknames or misspellings.
- Confirm SS#s. Make sure that the SS#s for everyone on your return is correct. See “Data Entry Errors,” above. This is another common error.
- Verify Direct Deposit Information. If you are expecting a refund, double-check your bank account and routing information. If you use a professional preparer, provide your preparer with a check image.
- Note Changes in filing status. If you are divorced and have alternating custody, if you get married, have children or your children leave the nest, make sure you catch that change on your tax return.
- Verify deductions. Schedule A deductions include mortgage interest (match that 1099), charitable deductions (check the donor acknowledgment letters) and medical expenses (keep your receipts from doctor visits and prescriptions).
- Verify your Health Insurance Status. Be sure you run the calculations to prove that you had health insurance coverage for the previous year and that your adjusted gross income matches your health insurance for the Affordable Care Act.
- Look for Credits. Child Care Credit, Education Credits, IRA contribution credits, Child and dependent care expenses and other credits may be available – don’t miss out on this opportunity to reduct your taxes.
- Sign and date the return – or make sure that the e-file requirements have been met.
- File early – file timely. The earlier you file your return, the sooner you will receive your refund. More importantly, don’t miss this year’s April 18 due date! [Trivia – April 15 falls on a weekend, Monday, Apri 17 is Emancipation Day for Washington DC, which means that the Tax Due Date is April 18]