If you’re self-employed like me, then you’ll know all about how long and arduous filing your own taxes can be. Although there’s a lot of information and tax calculator tools out there, countless people still make some major blunders when filing their taxes, and wind up in some hot water because of it. To help you get the whole ordeal out of the way quickly and painlessly, here are some of the most common mistakes you need to avoid.
The most common tax-filing mistake by far is simply not getting your maths right. Mistakes in transferring figures from one schedule to another, or more basic acts of arithmetic, will get you a correction notice immediately. The easiest way around this is getting yourself some reputable tax software. This will prompt you with specific fields to fill out, do the maths with no room for human error, and then come back with everything you need to know. Of course, you’ll still need to make absolutely sure that the information you’re entering is accurate. The IRS is certain to pick up on a discrepancy when they find one. Take it too easy, and you may end up having to chew through taxes, IRS audits, and more with these lawyers. Get it right the first time, and don’t leave yourself too much room for error!
Misspelled and Different Names
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Although the IRS is mainly there to deal with numbers, a supposedly trivial mistake in the names included in your returns can cause all kinds of trouble. If the names of you, being the taxpayer, your spouse or your children don’t match their identification number that the SSA has on their records, then it can lead to the IRS either aborting or slowing down the process of pushing through your tax return. This is a surprisingly common mistake, but the people who are most at risk of it are new wives. A lot of women change their surnames when they marry, which is now also an IRS-recognised possibility in same sex marriages. If you’ve recently been married and changed your surname, first of all, congratulations! Secondly, if you haven’t contacted the SSA about your name change already, put this at the top of your to-do list!
Filing Status Mistakes
You also need to double and triple-check that you’re using the right filing status for your personal situation. You have five distinct options, and each one could have a profound effect on your ultimate tax bill. For example, if this is going to be your first tax return since you became divorced, and you’re a single parent, then choosing “head of the household” is generally going to be more beneficial. If you’re still married, it’s a good idea to keep you and your partner on the same tax return. Your tax-filing status is considered a fairly negligible detail in amongst all the others, but it’s something that you shouldn’t overlook if you want everything to go smoothly. Find out what each status entails, and choose one that’s going to fit your personal situation.