Let the countdown to filing your tax return begin.
It’s hard to believe that we have merely a month left until Tax Day, but time really flies when you’re having fun. At Edge Financial, we keep ourselves busy year-round, but as you can probably guess, our busiest months are when we’re helping thousands of people prepare their taxes.
And this year is no different. Still, it’s pretty unbelievable that we’re closing in on the end of Tax Season.
However, we know that means one thing for certain: There’s about to be a tax filing rush.
You see, around this time of the month, everyone starts realizing the clock is ticking down and they need to get started on their taxes if they haven’t already. So people jump into action and make whatever tax filing plans they need, whether that means working with a tax preparation service like us, buying software, or filing by hand at home.
Whatever your method may be, you need to make sure you file comprehensive, detailed, and error-free taxes. But it’s surprising how many easy mistakes can accidentally land you with a smaller return or even an audit!
We don’t want to scare you, but we do want to prepare you. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do!
Let’s review five of the most common tax return errors that you should double check before you file. This will be painless, we promise!
First thing’s first, a simple blanket recommendation: Double-check, even triple-check, your taxes each and every year. If something looks awry, there’s probably a good reason for it!
Save yourself some headaches and double-check everything, not just these five items. But, speaking of these five items…
You know your own name, right? We figured.
You might be surprised, however, at how often people accidentally misspell newly changed names, middle names, and even first names of dependents and spouses. It’s always best to check than to risk it.
On a similar note, you’re definitely going to want to double-check your Social Security Number. If you’re filing by hand, make sure your ones don’t look like sevens and your sevens don’t look like twos. And if you were typing, make sure you didn’t accidentally press a key twice somewhere.
This may be basic information, but that’s why it’s so important.
If you e-file your taxes, you can get your refund back significantly faster than if you ask for a check. It cuts down on processing time and cuts down on paper waste.
However, exactly the opposite happens if you make an error inputting this information, which is why you need to check it again before you file. The two pieces of information they’ll need are your bank account number and your bank’s routing number.
In particular, double-check your bank’s routing number, because that’s probably the number you’re least familiar with and are most likely to misread or mistype. If you’re not sure what your bank’s routing number is, you can check the first set of numbers on the bottom left of your checks, search your bank’s website, or call them directly!
Easy enough, right?
Did you have health insurance last year? Did you not? Did you not-not? What about a FSA or HSA? No? Yes? Confused yet?
Yeah, we don’t blame you. As the health coverage requirements continue to evolve, a lot of people are unsure about what to claim, what to report, and what even counts. A good tax program or tax prep service will help walk you through it, but especially on your own, you may run into errors.
Our best recommendation here is to get some assistance if you’re ever unsure about how your health coverage, or health care costs, impacts your taxes. It can make a big difference when you file, so double-checking—or getting a second opinion—is the best move.
Seems silly, right? Well, it happens all the time.
Whether you’re rushing to get things done, exhausted after a few hours or days spent pouring over receipts and forms, or just missed it, your taxes are never truly finished until you sign on the line.
Of course, many programs try to transform this step into a few clicks when you’re e-filing, but if you’re printing—that signature needs to be on there! It’s so common the IRS mentions it specifically! Fortunately, ensuring you’ve physically or digitally signed your tax return is pretty simple.
Always hunt for that John or Jane Hancock!
Are you single or the head of your household? Can you be both?
Finding the appropriate filing status for your current tax-filing situation can be a bit tricky. Some, like “Single” and “Head of Household,” seem like they could be one-in-the-same, while “Married Filing Jointly” and “Married Filing Separately” can just be a little unclear. However, the implications of choosing the wrong status can be really problematic.
Whether you’re working with a tax preparer or filing yourself at home, always take a second look at your filing status before you file your taxes. Each option carries a set of assumptions that will be applied to the rest of your taxes, so if you accidentally put “Head of Household” when “Single” will do, you may see a difference on your refund—not to mention the fact that the IRS might follow up if it seems out of the ordinary.
Check the right box now and save yourself from trouble later on!
Mistakes happen, and the IRS understands that. Sadly, filing your tax return with mistakes can translate to delays on your tax refund, IRS audits, and even having to re-file forms later on. It’s best to take a second look at your return and make sure it’s in tip-top shape before sending it over for the IRS to review.
Generally speaking, when it comes to your tax return, no news is good news. So make sure that this Tax Day, Uncle Sam doesn’t have to do anything other than sign a refund check.
16501 Ventura Blvd. Suite 110, Encino, CA 91436