Employees who are just getting started on their annual tax filing chores may come to you or other finance staffers for info. A lot of cash-strapped folks will be trying to save money by doing their taxes themselves, but they’ve got a couple of questions about the process.
Consider sharing this list of the most common mistakes tax filers make, courtesy of the IRS, that leads to people needing to resend info, being contacted by the IRS or seeing delays in returns owed to them.
Common tax filing mistakes you don’t want to make
- Missing or inaccurate Social Security numbers (SSN). Younger employees may not know their SSNs by heart (Don’t believe me? Ask someone you know in their early 20s if he or she knows. You may be surprised!). It pays to take a second look at all numbers entered, but especially the SSN, which should match the numbers on the filer’s SSN card.
- Misspelled names. We’ll assume this mistake is the result of rushing or carelessness! Who knows? This common mistake seen by the IRS could be the fault of an employer’s mistake or failure to note a change in last name following marriage or divorce as well.
- Inaccurate information. The IRS advises to “carefully enter any wages, dividends, bank interest and other income they received to make sure they report the correct amounts … [including] credits and deductions.” It’s possible the figures on a W-2 from an employer are inaccurate. But unless the info is corrected by an employer and a new W-2 is issued, the IRS goes by the numbers reported by the employer(s).
- Incorrect filing status. The IRS recommends referring to Publication 501 for detailed info about filing statuses (claiming dependents, for example).
- Mistakes in arithmetic. Taxpayers can err on a range of tasks from simple addition and subtraction to more complex calculations. Best advice: Check your math a second time before filing. Some folks do their math on paper, but it’s always a good idea to confirm numbers are correct with a calculator during prep work and when checking final numbers to submit.