Avoid Common Tax Return Errors

Felice Zalk, MBA, EA

Each year the Internal Revenue Service publishes a list of the most common errors when preparing your tax return. Withholding and estimated tax payments entered on the wrong line is not the number one error. The most frequent culprit is “incorrect or missing social security numbers”.

What happens when you file an incorrect return with the IRS? The IRS rejects the return and sends a notice to the taxpayer. This can delay a refund by several weeks. In some cases the IRS may issue a refund but for a lesser amount. This may occur when another taxpayer claims the same dependent or the dependent’s social security number is wrong.

A few of the other common errors are incorrect tax based on taxable income and filing status, computational errors in figuring the taxable income, and math errors. Here are a few pointers before sending off your tax return:

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·      Take care in filing your return by doing a final review.

·      Check for transposition errors if whether electronically filing or preparing your return by hand.

·      Check that the names and social security numbers entered match the person’s social security card.

·      Did you check the appropriate exemption boxes? Check to see if you entered income, credits and deductions on the correct line.

·      Get the right routing and bank account numbers. Incorrect numbers can cause a delay in getting your refund or your refund deposit may go into the wrong account.

·      Retain a copy of the signed return and all the schedules for your records.

·       Mail the return to the proper address. The IRS often changes the address for mailing in the returns. Check to see the current mailing address. Enclose a voucher with your payment. Make the check payable to the United States Treasury. If you owe money, it is a good idea to send it certified mail through the U.S. Postal Service so there is a record of delivery or that a delivery was attempted.

If you electronically file your return, you eliminate the chance of mailing your return to the wrong service center. The tax changes can be overwhelming. You may want to hire a tax professional in good standing who has the authority to practice before the IRS. Recognition of who has this authority is an Enrolled Agent (EA), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), or an Attorney. Tax professionals keep current on tax law changes. They can save you time and offer ideas and insight on how to use the tax breaks available to you.


Felice Zalk, EA is founder of Felice Zalk, MBA that provides consulting, accounting and tax services for individuals and business. She is a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals and an Enrolled Agent (EA) licensed to practice before the IRS.

Website: www. felicezalk.com


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