6 On Your Side Answers: How to avoid tax filing pitfalls

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The April 15 tax deadline is a little more than two weeks away. Thanks to tax preparation software, more of us are making fewer mistakes on our annual income tax returns.

Ann from West Knoxville wrote: “I made just one slip on my tax return last year. It ended up costing me. Let people know.”

More than 40 percent of individual tax filers sent in paper forms last year. Unfortunately, that process multiplies the opportunities to make a tax filing mistake.

Even if a mistake, either on your computer or paper forms, does not cost you cash, it could delay the receipt of any refund you’re expecting.

To get exactly what you should from the IRS, and as quickly as possible, there are several filing pitfalls to look out for.

The most common error on tax returns, year after year, is bad math. Mistakes in arithmetic, or in transferring figures from one schedule to another can get you an immediate correction notice.

Using a tax software program to file your return can help cut math errors, but you still have to make sure the first numbers you put in are correct.

Forgetting to write in your Social Security numbers will definitely cost you time.  Since the IRS stopped putting taxpayer Social Security numbers on tax package labels in response to privacy concerns, many taxpayers forget to write in their identification numbers.

If you are among the 66 million people who plan to fill out your return by hand this year, be sure to use the prepared label and the envelope that came with your tax package.

By using the pre-addressed envelope that will ensure your return goes to the proper processing site.

Don’t forget to sign and date your return. Without your signature, the IRS won’t process your return. If it is a joint filing, you and your spouse both must sign.

With a little care, you can avoid these pitfalls and get your money returned on time.

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