How To Avoid Mistakes on Your Taxes

shallow depth of field of accountant calculating financial data

Income tax returns are a necessity no working person can avoid although many do try. With three additional days to file tax returns (tax day is April 18), no excuse will excuse you from tax penalties and interest. Stop procrastinating and start your taxes now.

 

Tax Planning
Gather necessary paperwork and place it near tax booklets, 1099s, and W-2s. Include last year’s tax returns, social security numbers, car title loans, checkbook, credit card number, and bank account number in the pile. Additionally, tax filers should pick a date to file taxes. Ensure few happenings are occurring that day. Concentrate on completing your taxes. Since tax filing can become stressful, dedicating time toward taxes lessens the chance mistakes occur due to rushing, incorrect answers, or sloppy writing.

Use Tax Preparation Software or A Tax Professional
Mistakes increase when a person fills out tax returns without software or a professional. It’s too risky to follow the instructions on the form due to yearly tax changes, typos, and mathematical errors. Online tax preparation websites, tax preparation software, tax accountants, tax lawyers, and tax services (HR Block, Jackson-Hewett, etc.) are the preferred suggestions for successful tax filing. Fewer mistakes occur when one or more options are in your arsenal.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race
The time dedicated to tax filing is the time to relax, read, and respond. Slowly process one question and answer at a time. Rely on last year’s tax returns, paperwork, and changes during the year to complete the form. Review the completed tax form. Compare the tax form to last year to ensure the placement (not the answers) is similar. If changes in placement occur, read it and understand why. E-filers should complete an e-signature. Printed forms should include a signature with today’s date at the bottom of the last page. Attach necessary forms to the correct place on the tax return and include supplemental forms and paperwork behind the tax return.

Don’t send it off until the next day. This provides the opportunity to mentally leave the situation and return with an objective mindset. This is where double-checking for mistakes prior to send-off are mandatory. Pay taxes owed by selecting a payment method. Provide a bank account number for direct deposit or request a check in the mail for refund filers. In the case taxes aren’t complete on time, the IRS allows filers to file an extension.

Find Answers to Puzzling Questions
The IRS website contains supplemental information that the standard return doesn’t provide. The main issue with tax returns is finding and filling out tax schedule forms. The IRS has all tax forms available on the website. Google form attachment name and tax year to find forms as well. You can also call the IRS if a phone conversation is your preference.

For tax software or tax websites, answers pertaining to software or web issues are on the website. For accountants, tax services, and tax lawyers, the professional should answer the question promptly.

Neatness Counts
While you’re reviewing the tax return, neatness counts. Can you read what you wrote? If you cannot read your handwriting, don’t expect an IRS representative to comprehend it. Sloppy writing is the fastest way to hit “return to sender” on your tax returns.

With less than a month to go, tax filers cannot afford to wait any longer. April 18th will arrive soon, so use these helpful methods to turn a stressful time into a pleasant joyride. The IRS expects every working citizen to pay taxes, and error-free tax forms make the IRS’s job easier. Use this advice for state tax returns.

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