We all make mistakes. But if you make a mistake on your tax return, the IRS may need to contact you to correct it. That will delay your refund.
You can avoid most tax return errors by using IRS e-file. People who do their taxes on paper are about 20 times more likely to make an error than e-filers. IRS e-file is the most accurate way to file your tax return.
Here are eight common tax-filing errors to avoid:
- Wrong or missing Social Security numbers. Be sure you enter all SSNs on your tax return exactly as they are on the Social Security cards.
- Wrong names. Be sure you spell the names of everyone on your tax return exactly as they are on their Social Security cards.
- Filing status errors. Some people use the wrong filing status, such as Head of Household instead of Single. The Interactive Tax Assistant on IRS.gov can help you choose the right one. Tax software helps e-filers choose.
- Math mistakes. Double-check your math. For example, be careful when you add or subtract or figure items on a form or worksheet. Tax preparation software does all the math for e-filers.
- Errors in figuring credits or deductions. Many filers make mistakes figuring their Earned Income Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit, and the standard deduction. If you're not e-filing, follow the instructions carefully when figuring credits and deductions. For example, if you're age 65 or older or blind, be sure you claim the correct, higher standard deduction.
- Wrong bank account numbers. You should choose to get your refund by direct deposit. But it's important that you use the right bank and account numbers on your return. The fastest and safest way to get a tax refund is to combine e-file with direct deposit.
- Forms not signed or dated. An unsigned tax return is like an unsigned check – it's not valid. Remember that both spouses must sign a joint return.
- Electronic filing PIN errors. When you e-file, you sign your return electronically with a Personal Identification Number. If you know last year's e-file PIN, you can use that. If not, you'll need to enter the Adjusted Gross Income from your originally-filed 2012 federal tax return. Don't use the AGI amount from an amended 2012 return or a 2012 return that the IRS corrected.
Additional IRS Resources:
IRS YouTube Videos:
- Welcome to Free File – English
- Tax Return Errors – English | Spanish | ASL
- Free IRS Tax Help – English | Spanish | ASL