The clock is ticking! People have only a few weeks left to get those returns in. But don’t sacrifice accuracy for speed…Many mistakes people make on their taxes are completely avoidable.
The United States Tax Code clocks in at 18,500, pages! It’s easy to see how taxpayers can make a mistake or two when filing federal income tax forms. But with over 97,000 full-time employees at the IRS, you can bet it’s not going to go unnoticed. Here are some of the guiltiest repeat offenders—Steer clear of them and you’ll get your refund faster and can avoid having your IRS agent over for a cup of tea.
1. Sign and date your return.
Probably the easiest part of preparing your taxes is signing your John Hancock, but it’s still one of the most common mistakes year after year. The IRS will not accept your return if you fail to sign and date your income tax form. It delays the process—and your refund! Remember also that when filing jointly, both spouses must sign.
2. Check the right box.
Another common mistake is checking the wrong filing status. You have five choices: single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household and qualifying widower. Taxpayers often incorrectly claim head of household filing status without meeting the requirements. You can qualify for head of household status (and a larger deduction) if you are unmarried at the end of the year, have cared for a closely-related dependent for over half the year and paid more than half the cost of maintaining a home for yourself and your dependent.
And we already covered that the dog doesn’t count as a dependent.