I announced yesterday that H&R Block was having their National Tax Advice Day tomorrow, January 12th, and in anticipation of that day I’ve looked around on their site for some articles that may be of some use to everyone. I found an article on common tax bloopers that can be easily avoided, I suggest printing it out and crossing it off if you’re planning on preparing your return yourself.
1. Social Security numbers are in error – They’re incorrect or missing, or they don’t match the names
2. Required documentation (W-2s, etc.) not attached
3. Return not signed
4. Incorrect filing status recorded
5. Math errors made – A math mistake, the IRS says, need not be a calculation error. It can be as simple as copying a number incorrectly, like reporting wages of $29,472 as $24,972.
6. Forms and/or schedules are incorrect or missing
7. Standard deduction used when itemizing would have saved the taxpayer more money – Don’t forget, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that over a half-million taxpayers could save by itemizing.
8. Social Security taxable benefits worksheet not completed
9. Credits not claimed or figured in error – Typical examples include the child tax credit and earned income credit. Either the taxpayer does not understand credit eligibility or calculates incorrectly.
10. Income items omitted
Every tiny little mistake adds up to an additional delay in your refund (if you’re due and lucky) or perhaps penalties (if you’re unlucky, such as errors in reporting that they don’t find until 5 years later) so it behooves you to double and triple check. Even if you get an accountant to do your taxes, be sure to double check their work because you never know.