What Common Mistakes are Made on Tax Forms?

in All Items, Tax Forms, Tax Information

Tax forms typically feature lots of lines and spaces, all just waiting for you to leave your mark and to fill them with facts and figures. With so many things expected of you coupled with the fact that most taxpayers are in a rush to get their forms in under the deadline, it’s all too easy to make a mistake. Sure, you can turn to tax preparation software to help, but even that isn’t foolproof. Even professional tax preparers can make mistakes, though this route is the least likely to end in errors. The only thing you can do, whether you’re preparing your taxes yourself or relying on someone else to do it for you, is to keep careful records and to always double check your forms before sending them off. It’s also wise to be aware of the most commonly made tax mistakes and to be on the lookout for them in your own forms.

Sometimes, your mistake isn’t providing the wrong information on your tax form but simply not providing all of the necessary information. As mentioned above, there are tons of lines and spaces on the average tax form, so many that it’s all too easy to miss one or two. Again, double checking your work or your preparer’s work is an easy way to spot mistakes. Likewise, some software will clue you into missing fields. It might even be a good idea to have a friend look over your form for you before you send it off. Be as careful as possible, because if you leave a blank line where information is needed, chances are you’re going to have to redo that form, which could mean waiting even longer for any refund you may be entitled to.

It doesn’t take a math whiz to do the simple calculations required for a tax form. However, even math geniuses can make mistakes. Making a mathematical error is sometimes as simple as hitting the wrong button on your calculator or the wrong number key on your computer’s keyboard for electronic filers. Mathematical errors are particularly bad since they not only could get your form rejected but could also raise suspicions and lead to possible audits. So, when you’re double checking that form, don’t just glance over the numbers. Go back through your calculations once more and make sure you’ve arrived at the right answer.

Other common errors are due to simply not having the right know-how. If you miss out, for example, on new tax laws or changes to existing laws, you could make a filing mistake. Likewise, if you are unsure about your filing status or which form to use and make the wrong choices, you could find yourself back at step one. To avoid these types of errors, do your research! And, when in doubt, get help from a professional. Filling out tax forms doesn’t have to be all that difficult, but it does require a little work on your end.

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