The most common mistakes people make on their federal tax returns are relatively simple. Unfortunately, simple mistakes can cause a lot of grief. A wrong identification number here, a misspelled name there, could cause a delayed refund - or worse.
Here are eight tips for avoiding common errors on your tax return:
Be sure you enter SSNs for yourself and others on your tax return exactly as they are shown on the Social Security cards.
Be sure you enter names of all individuals on your tax return exactly as they are shown on their Social Security cards. Don't use nicknames or alternate names. If your name or your child's name has changed, be sure to report the new name to the Social Security Administration before you file your return.
Choose the right filing status. There are five filing statuses: Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child.
If you are married and living with your spouse, you must use the Married Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separately filing status.
If you are single, you will generally pay less tax if you qualify to file as Head of Household or as a Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child.
If you're not sure which filing status to choose, see IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information.
The easiest way to avoid math and calculation mistakes is to let TaxAct do all the calculations for you. The IRS reports that tax returns prepared using software are far less likely to contain errors than returns prepared by hand.
TaxAct can help you find errors and missing information before you file your return. During the review process, red alerts identify incomplete or inconsistent information. Yellow alerts identify potential problems. Green alerts point out potential tax savings.
Direct depositing your refund or paying taxes directly from an account is fast, easy, and safe, provided you enter your bank routing and account numbers correctly.
If you do enter the wrong account numbers, the IRS may not be able to validate the account number. The IRS will then send you a paper refund check. If the number you enter belongs to someone else, your refund may be deposited in their account.
When your return is ready to be filed, print and read through it carefully. If you don't understand something; for example, if you didn't get a deduction or credit that you expected, you may want to go through the step-by-step interview again and make sure you answered all the questions correctly.
Your tax return is not valid until you sign it. You and your spouse must both sign a joint return.
If you e-file your tax return, you'll sign the return electronically using a Personal Identification Number (PIN). Simply follow the easy instructions in TaxAct.
March 1 — Farmers & fishermen
File your 2017 income tax return (Form 1040) and pay any tax due Details
March 10 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during February, report them to your employer Details
March 15 — S Corporations
File a 2017 calendar year income tax return (Form 1120S) and pay any tax due Details
March 15 — S Corporation election
File Form 2553, Election by a Small Business Corporation, to elect to be treated as an S corporation beginning with calendar year 2017. If Form 2553 is filed late, S corporation treatment will begin with calendar year 2018.
March 15 — Partnerships
File a 2017 calendar year return (Form 1065) Details
March 15 — Electing larger partnerships
Provide each partner with a copy of Schedule K1 (Form 1065B), Partner's Share of Income (Loss) From an Electing Large Partnership, or a substitute Schedule K1. This due date applies even if the partnership requests an extension of time to file the Form 1065B by filing Form 7004
March 15 — Partnerships
Electing large partnerships: File a 2017 calendar year return (Form 1065-B) Details
March 15 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule Page 6 Publication 509 applies, deposit the tax for payments in February.
March 31 — Electronic filing of Forms W2
File copies of all the Forms W2 you issued for 2017. This due date applies only if you electronically file.
March 31 — Electronic filing of Forms W2G
File copies of all the Forms W2G you issued for 2017. This due date applies only if you electronically file.
March 31 — Electronic filing of Forms 8027
File Forms 8027 for 2017. This due date applies only if you electronically file.