We all make mistakes, but here are a few to make sure you avoid when you file your taxes:
Forgetting to file your taxes
Files your taxes by April 17th. If you file late and owe the government money, you will pay the price. The penalty is usually 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month that a return is late. It starts the day after the tax filing due date and won’t go over 25%. You’ll get a separate bill for that.
The spelling of names
Sounds like an obvious one but it happens to a lot of people. You need to make sure the name you’ve written down matches the one on your Social Security card exactly. If you recently got hitched and changed your name, make sure it matches social security administration records.
Social Security Number
This nine-digital number is very important. One wrong number could have the IRS on your case.
Your filing status is used to determine your filing requirements and is based on your marital status and family situation. There are five to choose from: Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child. This helps determine your tax rates and potential refund so make sure you get it right.
For those going the paper tax return route, take your time and be careful with your math. If you’re filing online or getting help from a professional, you get to skip doing the math yourself. But still, look over everything to make sure it adds up.
Tax credits and deductions
It can be overwhelming so read the instructions carefully to make sure you are selecting what’s appropriate for you. There are two types of deductions: Standard and Items. You can only choose one, so make sure you see which one cuts you the biggest break.
Bank account numbers
If you want to use direct deposit to get your refund, this is probably a good thing to get right.
Don’t forget to add your John Hancock to those paper forms before sending it to the government. If you’re doing everything online, you’ll be asked for a Personal Identification Number.
Beware of scam file your taxes calls
They happen more often than you think and seem legit. The callers may know a lot of your info and usually make it so that “IRS” pops up on caller ID. Here’s the thing: the IRS will never call you asking for immediate payment or threatening to have you arrested. Just hang up and call the IRS directly.
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