Nine Common Errors made on Tax Returns
Errors made on tax returns may delay the processing of your return and the arrival of your refund. Avoiding the common errors below will help ensure your refund arrives on time:
1. Recovery Rebate Credit Many returns filed in 2009 have errors involving the Recovery Rebate Credit, a credit for people who did not receive a stimulus payment in 2008 or who did not receive the maximum amount. To avoid delays in tax refunds, it is critical that taxpayers know whether they received a payment in 2008 and the correct amount of that stimulus payment. For people using a paper tax return, the stimulus payment amount will be required when completing the related worksheet. For people using tax software, the stimulus payment amount will be needed as part of the return preparation process.
2. Incorrect or missing social security numbers When entering SSNs for anyone listed on your tax return, be sure they are entered exactly as they appear on the social security cards. Incorrect or transposed numbers will cause delays in the processing of your return.
3. Incorrect or Misspelling of dependent’s last name When entering dependent’s last name on your tax return, ensure they are entered exactly as they appear on the social security cards. Incorrect or misspelling of dependent’s last name will cause delays in processing of your return.
4. Filing status errors Make sure you choose the correct filing status for your situation.
5. Math Errors When preparing paper returns you should review all addition and subtraction to ensure it is correct. Remember, when you file electronically, the software takes care of the math for you!
6. Computation errors Take your time. Many taxpayers are making mistakes when figuring the taxable income, withholding and estimated tax payments, Earned Income Credit, Standard Deduction for age 65 or over or blind, the taxable amount of social security benefits, and child and dependent care credit.
7. Incorrect bank account numbers for Direct Deposit If you are due a refund and requested direct deposit did you check your financial institution routing and account numbers?
8. Forgetting to sign and date the return An unsigned tax return is like an unsigned check – it is invalid.
9. Incorrect Adjusted Gross Income information Taxpayers filing electronically must sign the return electronically using a personal identification number. To verify their identity taxpayers will be prompted to enter their AGI from their originally filed 2007 federal income tax return or their prior year PIN if they used one to file electronically last year. Taxpayers should not use an AGI amount from an amended return, Form 1040X, or a math error correction made by IRS.
Seven Things to know about the Taxpayer Advocate Service
If you’re experiencing problems with the Internal Revenue Service, you may be able to get help from the Taxpayer Advocate Service. Here’s what every taxpayer should know about this independent organization within the IRS.
1. The Taxpayer Advocate Service is your voice at the IRS.
2. You may be eligible for TAS help if you’ve tried to resolve your tax problem through normal IRS channels and have gotten nowhere, or you think an IRS procedure just isn’t working as it should.
3. TAS helps taxpayers whose problems are causing financial difficulty or significant cost, including the cost of professional representation.
4. TAS employees know the IRS and how to navigate it.
5. TAS will listen to your problem, help you understand what needs to be done to resolve it, and stay with you every step of the way until your problem is resolved.
6. TAS has at least one local taxpayer advocate in each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
7. To contact TAS you can call your local advocate, whose number is in your phone book, or call the toll-free case intake line at 1-877-ASK-TAS1. You can also visit TAS online at www.IRS.gov/advocate.
Top Ten Tips for Last Minute Filers
With the tax filing deadline close at hand, here are the top 10 tips for taxpayers still working on their tax return.
1. E-file your return. Consider filing electronically instead of using paper tax forms. Choosing to e-file is the best way to ensure your return is accurate and complete.
2. Review tax ID numbers. Remember to carefully check all identification numbers on your return. Incorrect or illegible Social Security Numbers can delay or reduce a tax refund.
3. Double-check your figures. Whether you are filing electronically or by paper, review all the amounts you transferred over from your W-2 or 1099.
4. Review your math. Taxpayers filing paper returns should also double-check that they have correctly figured the refund or balance due and have used the right figure from the tax table.
5. Sign and date your return. Both spouses must sign a joint return, even if only one had income. Anyone paid to prepare a return must also sign it.
6. Choose Direct Deposit. To get your refund quicker, select Direct Deposit and the IRS will deposit your refund directly into your bank account.
7. How to make a payment. People sending a payment should make the check out to "United States Treasury" and should enclose it with, but not attach it to the tax return or the Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher, if used. Write your name, address, SSN, telephone number, tax year and form number on the check or money order.
8. File an extension. Taxpayers who will not be able to file a return by the April deadline should request an extension of time to file. Remember, the extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay.
9. Visit the IRS Web site. IRS.gov has forms, publications and helpful information on a variety of tax subjects, which is available around the clock on the IRS.gov.
10. Review your return….one more time. Before you seal the envelope or hit send, go over all the information on return again. Errors may delay the processing of your return, so it’s best for you to make sure everything on your return is correct.