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Avoid Common Tax-filing Mistakes

So on the front page of Yahoo! Finance there’s an article by Kay Bell from Bankrate.com titled “15 common tax-filing mistakes you can avoid” (article removed from site) that posted yesterday. Most of these errors are simply careless. It’s like when you took that arithmetic test in elementary school and did all the math in your head because you thought you were smart. You are smart… you just mess up sometimes. With Free Tax Filing [3] (endorsed by the IRS!) and lots of free e-Filing methods, there is almost no excuse for any of these “mistakes.”

Here is the list:
1. Making math errors
2. Not including Social Security numbers
3. Not signing and dating your return
4. Not using the preprinted label and envelope from the tax package
5. Forgetting about interest and dividends
6. Forgetting to claim charitable donations
7. Not including all your forms
8. Not properly tracking your investment basis
9. Using the EZ form when a longer form could cut your taxes
10. Making the check out incorrectly — and forgetting to sign it!
11. Forgetting to bunch your deduction
12. Not taking all the credits you’re eligible for
13. Using the wrong tax table
14. Missing the deadline to request an extension
15. Not putting the proper postage on your return package

I put in red every “common mistake” that is automatically avoided as a result of using tax filing programs and using e-file. The only ones I can see that you might mess up on is not bunching your some of your deductions and tracking your investments. It makes no sense not to use a free program (you can even print out a return if you want to tempt fate and try to make errors 3 and 15) and I don’t see a benefit.

TurboTax does everything online so you don’t need to download a program you’ll never use again. (Read a review of TurboTax [4]) Don’t want to send anything unnecessary online? Try TaxAct. Download some software and run it all locally. (Read a review of TaxAct [5])

There is no reason why you shouldn’t do your taxes electronically and there are at least 15 common reasons why you should.