Common Filing Mistakes to Avoid in 2012

© Dgm007 | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Dgm007 | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

So you’ve gathered all your paperwork, read up on the latest tax law changes that might affect you, and even purchased the latest tax software. You’re ready to file! Before you attach that stamp and drop your return in the mail, you may want to take another look at your return to be sure you’re not making one of the more common filing blunders. After all, mistakes can be costly. Filing mistakes may cause you to pay more tax than you should or reduce your tax refund. Even if the error doesn’t cost you money, it could cause processing delays and postpone the receipt of your refund.


Here’s a list of common filing mistakes to look out for:


1. Forgetting a W2 or 1099. The IRS will match these tax documents to your tax return so be sure to include everything. If you know that you are due to receive a W2 or 1099 from an organization but have not yet received it, be sure to follow up with them.


2. Incorrect direct deposit information. Direct deposit can help speed the receipt of your refund but be sure you have included the correct routing and account numbers so your refund ends up in the correct account!


3. Missing the deadline. Be sure not to miss the April 15th deadline. If you owe taxes and are not able to make the full payment, file your return by the due date and include what you are able. Then contact the IRS or your tax professional to discuss your options. Opting not to file will only cost you more money in penalties.


4. Missing or incorrect information. Be sure all required information is filled in legibly and accurately. Missing information that could delay your return include items such as social security numbers and W2s. Neglecting to include key information such as property tax expenses and mortgage interest can result in a higher tax liability.


5. Math errors. Whether arithmetic mistakes or errors transferring figures from one schedule to another, math miscalculations may result in a reduced refund. Be sure to take the time to double-check manual calculations. If using tax software, verify that your initial input is accurate.


6. Not keeping a copy of your return. Copies of tax returns can help identify trends in your income taxes and are useful in preparing next year’s return. The IRS has guidelines to help you determine how long you should keep copies of your returns.


7. Wrong filing status. Filing status has a significant impact on your final tax bill. Make sure you understand your options and choose the status that is best for you and your personal tax situation.


8. Failing to include estimated tax payments or prior year applied refund payments. Remember include any 2011 refund you chose to have applied to 2012 as a payment towards your current year tax liability. Also, don’t forget any estimated payments made during 2012.


9. Incorrect social security numbers. Failure to include correct social security numbers can cause you to miss out on valuable credits and deductions. Take the time to verify the accuracy of all the social security numbers included on the return. Additionally, check to make sure that the names and numbers match the Social Security Administration records.


10. Omitting the signature. Your tax return will not be processed without a valid signature (or 2 if a joint return). If you are efiling, you will need to electronically sign your return using a Personal Identification Number. Your tax software will guide you through the process.


To make sure you aren’t paying a penny more than you should and that you get your refund as quickly as possible, take a few moments to review your return for these common errors. Taking a little extra time before filing can help you avoid headaches later.