Common Errors to Avoid When Preparing a Tax Return

Common Errors to Avoid When Preparing a Tax Return

Every year, countless errors are made on U.S. tax returns, from typos and misspelled names, to math miscalculations and forgotten deadlines. While these tax season errors are correctable, they are most definitely an annoyance. It can take the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) longer to process the tax return if it contains errors, which could, in turn, delay a tax refund.

Common-Errors-for-Taxpayers

When preparing your taxes this year — whether you’re doing them yourself, using tax software or hiring an accountant — be sure to print out your tax return using your MegaTank PIXMA G4210 so you can double and triple check your information. Since the MegaTank has a continuous ink system with enough ink for 6,000 black-and-white pages (7,000 color pages), you won’t have to worry about hitting a snag — an important concern during the stressful tax season! When you’ve got your print-out in hand, comb through it for common errors, paying extra special attention to the following:

Spell all names correctly.

It sounds obvious, but it’s easy to make a typo on names on your tax forms. Be sure your name and the names of any family members are spelled correctly. And if someone recently changed their name, whether by marriage or otherwise, make sure your tax forms match the latest government records.

Get your social security number right.

Plenty of people make a mistake on this, too, or leave it out entirely. Get all nine digits of this number correct on your tax return.

Choose the correct filing status.

If you’re not sure how to file (i.e. single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, qualifying widow(er) with dependent child), visit the IRS’s Interactive Tax Assistant Search to determine the best fit.  

Claim the appropriate credits and deductions.

Credits and deductions can help you save money on your taxes, so be sure to fully understand which ones you qualify for. Some common credits are the earned income tax credit, child tax credit, premium tax credit (via the Affordable Care Act) and the tax credit for being a senior citizen or disabled. Common deductions include: student loan interest, charitable donations, mortgage interest, state and local taxes and more. Again, the Interactive Tax Assistant Search can be helpful here.

Check (and recheck) your math.

Remember those arithmetic lessons from school? Math is still an important skill — especially during tax time! Be sure that all of your numbers add up before you submit your tax returns.

Mark your calendar.

Your taxes must be filed — or at least postmarked — by the tax-filing deadline of April 15. If you’re in Maine or Massachusetts, this year your deadline is April 17, because of local holidays. If you miss that deadline, you could pay a penalty. To get an extension, you can file IRS Form 4868, but you still must pay any taxes owed by the April deadline.

Keep receipts for charitable giving.

If you get audited, the IRS will want to see proof of any charitable donations that you deduct from your taxes. Print out any receipts, bank statements or credit card statements that show the donation and keep them in a file, just in case.

Report all income.

If you’ve been working a side gig doing landscaping or graphic design or other jobs, that money is taxable, even if you didn’t receive a 1099 form for the work. Be sure and report it on your tax forms.

Keep adequate mileage records.

If you deduct the miles you drive from your taxes, be sure and keep a record of those miles throughout the year. Print out a mileage log and keep it in your vehicle to make it a habit. If you get audited, the IRS will want to see your mileage log.

Make sure your bank information is correct.

If you want to get that refund quickly, ensure that your financial institution’s routing number and your account number is accurate, so your direct deposit goes through without a hitch.

Sign and date the forms.

The IRS won’t accept them unless your John Hancock is there, along with that of your spouse, if you’re filing together.

Now that you've filed, there's just a couple of things left to do. Using your MegaTank PIXMA G4210, print out your latest finalized tax forms, along with any documentation that goes along with them, like those charitable receipts, tax forms, mileage logs, etc. Print a label for 2018 taxes, and create a folder to store it all in. File it in a safe place, in case you need it in the future. While you're at it, create another folder for 2019 taxes and add documentation to it as the year goes by. That way, you'll be ahead of the game when tax season rolls around again.