There's officially less than one month to get your taxes filed. Many taxpayers are crunching the numbers and filing their own taxes rather than hiring a professional to file their taxes for them. It's truly a sign of the times. But could this be hurting your chances at a return?
Here are a few tips that will help you more effectively avoid mistakes when you file taxes on your own:
1. Sign Your Names As the IRS puts it, a unsigned return is the same as an unsigned check. INVALID! Filing Jointly? Make the Spouse sign, too!
2. Incorrect or misspelling of dependent’s last name - The dependent's name must be spelled exactly as it appears on their social security card.
3. Recovery Rebate Credit - This is an important one, as many returns filed in 2009 have errors involving the Recovery Rebate Credit. This is a credit for people who:
-DID NOT RECEIVE A STIMULUS PAYMENT IN 2008, or
-DID NOT receive the MAXIMUM amount.
You need to know how much you received as a stimulus payment for 2008. Go here to find out how much your stimulus payment was.
4. Incorrect or missing social security numbers - Any Social Security Numbers listed on the Tax Return must be entered exactly as it appears on the Social Security Cards. Double Check!
5. Incorrect bank account numbers for Direct Deposit - You want your money! Check and double check your routing and account numbers.
6. Filing status errors - Do you research and make sure you choose the correct filing status for your situation.
7. Math errors - Get your calculators out and make sure you review all addition and subtraction. This is one of the easiest ways to make a mistake. When you file electronically, the software takes care of things for you, but you can't blame Turbo Tax if your taxes don't get paid! Double check electronic returns as well.
8. Computation errors - Here's where the IRS sees the most computation errors:
-Withholding and Estimated Tax Payments
-Earned Income Credit
-Standard Deduction for age 65 or over or blind
-The taxable amount of social security benefits
-Child and Dependent Care Credit
9. Incorrect Adjusted Gross Income information - Electronic returns require identity verification with a personal identification and your AGI number. AGI is the Adjusted Gross Income amount for your 2007 federal tax return. You can't use an AGI amount from an amended return, Form 1040X or a math error correction made by the IRS.
-If you filed electronically last year you can use your prior year PIN.
10. NOT working with a Professional - When people have very complicated IRS Problems, I'm earnest with them. I tell them to bite the bullet and hire a reputable CPA or Tax Resolution Professional. You will not regret this investment. Frustrated individuals are so much more likely to ignore the issue, making things worse.
We Hate Delays: Errors on Tax Returns delay processing, and errors made on Tax Returns will delay your return check! Avoiding these common errors will help ensure your refund arrives on time.