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Listen, we all make mistakes. But try to avoid making them while filling out your taxes. Here are some things to pay extra attention to:
Forgetting to file: You’ve got to do it by April 17. The deadline is April 17. When? April 17. If you file late and owe the government some money, you will pay the price. The penalty is usually 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month that a return is late. It starts the day after the tax filing due date and won’t go over 25%. You’ll get a separate bill for that.
Spelling of names: Sounds like an obvious one but it happens to a lot of people. You need to make sure the name you’ve written down matches the one on your Social Security card exactly. Uncle Sam doesn't care about your nickname. Oh, and if you recently got hitched and changed your name, make sure it matches Social Security Administration records.
Social Security Number: This is not the time to go with your gut. If you don't have the nine digit number memorized, double-check. One wrong number could have the IRS on your case.
Filing status: Your filing status is used to determine your filing requirements, and is based on your marital status and family situation. It is very, very important that you choose the right one. There are five to choose from: Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child. This helps determine your tax rates and potential refund so make sure you get it right.
Math mistakes: For those going the paper tax return route, take your time and be careful with your math. If you’re filing online or getting help from a professional, you get to skip doing the math yourself. But still look over everything to make sure it adds up.
Tax credits and deductions: It can be overwhelming so read the instructions carefully to make sure you are selecting what’s appropriate for you. Here's a breakdown.
Bank account numbers: If you want to use direct deposit to get your refund, this is probably a good thing to get right.
Signatures: You want to get this thing done already, we get it. But don’t forget to add your John Hancock to those paper forms before sending it to the government. If you’re doing everything online, you’ll be asked for a Personal Identification Number. Don’t get that one wrong either.
Beware of scam calls: They happen more often than you think, and seem legit. The callers may know a lot of your info and usually make it so that “IRS” pops up on caller ID. Here’s the thing: the IRS will never call you asking for an immediate payment or threatening to have you arrested. Just hang up and call the IRS directly.
Mistakes happen. But now that you know what to avoid, tax season is yours to crush.
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And keep a good reference.