If you are like most American taxpayers, then getting a refund is some of the best news you will get all year. For that reason alone, you want to do all you can to avoid the delay of that refund.
Here are a few common income tax mistakes that you should avoid, in order to receive your money as quickly as possible:
- Wrong names or social security numbers: Be sure that your names and social security numbers are absolutely correct, otherwise the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) cannot properly identify you.
- Wrong filing status: Are you the Head of Household or a Single filer? Visit IRS.gov’s Interactive Tax Assistant to make sure you choose the right status.
- Bad math: Be sure to double check when you add, subtract, or figure items on tax forms, otherwise the IRS may have to contact you to correct it.
- Credit and deduction errors: With each credit and deduction, it is essential to choose the right amounts and follow the instructions for each section. If you make the wrong selection, then you may have to correct it before you can receive your refund.
- Unsigned or undated forms: If you and a spouse are filing a joint return, then you must both sign and date the forms. Single filers must sign and date in order to process the refund.
- Invalid bank accounts: The IRS recommends that for the fastest refund, you should choose to have the money directly deposited into your bank account. Submitting the wrong bank account numbers will inevitably delay the deposit.
- Filing on paper: While it is still allowable to file your income taxes on paper, it is not recommended due to human error. Instead, use IRS e-file to file your returns; the tax software helps you avoid common mistakes.
- Wrong e-file PIN: If you used e-file last year, then you should use the same PIN. However, if you cannot remember your PIN, then you should avoid guessing or entering the incorrect numbers. Instead, the IRS will ask you to enter the Adjusted Gross Income from your originally filed 2012 federal tax return (not an amended or corrected 2012 return).
- Filing late: If you file a tax extension, then you will not receive your refund until you officially file your tax returns.
An important note: Whether or not you file your taxes by the April 15th deadline, there is a statute of limitations for claiming a tax refund. You have three years from the official tax deadline to request a refund on your taxes. Some exclusions or exceptions may apply in your situation.
Questions about Complex Income Tax Returns
If you are uncertain about filing your income tax returns because of missing or complex information, then please contact the Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) for a referral to a taxation attorney. When you get a referral, the attorney will provide you with up to 30 minutes of free consultation time.