Doing your taxes yourself can be a great alternative option to having it done by an accountant. With the very sophisticated tax software available at your fingertips, it’s worth giving it a shot. It is also usually cheaper to do it at home than at a tax accountant’s office. However, when doing taxes yourself, you have to be extra careful to make sure everything is correct before you send it in, or you could suffer some consequences. Here are four common mistakes people make, and what you can do to make sure you aren’t one of them.
Wrong Social Security Number
Your social security number is how you are identified by the IRS when you turn in your tax forms. You probably wouldn’t intentionally put the wrong social security number on your taxes, but it happens all the time. People can get mixed up and put a couple of numbers in the wrong order, or they simply remember their number wrong and don’t check to see if they got it right. To make sure you don’t make this mistake, double and even triple check that the number you type in on your taxes is the number that is on your physical social security card. It never hurts to take a second look.
Much like the social security problem, many times people make serious math errors on their taxes when they are filing for themselves. Sometimes they input the wrong numbers due to a typing error or simply just reading the numbers wrong on their year-end statements or W-2 forms. Obviously, all of the numbers you put on your tax forms are extremely important, so it’s imperative that you check all math with a calculator and double check all numbers you type or write. It seems so simple and basic, but it’s the small things that trip people up sometimes.
What’s Your Status?
A common mistake people make, sometimes knowingly, is putting the wrong filing status on your tax forms. Different filing statuses can give different tax breaks, but not everyone qualifies for every status. Sometimes people can accidentally file as “Head of Household” when they should be “Unmarried”. Sometimes the status labels can be confusing, so it’s important to research your particular situation and what you should file as before you do your taxes. You could save a lot of headache by knowing what you are going to do beforehand.
Perhaps one of the most common mistakes people make on their tax forms is simply not signing or dating the forms before submitting them. It seems silly, but it happens more than you would think. Before submitting anything on your taxes, go through each page and look for signature lines. Make sure you have signed everything completely, and then check again. If you are filing jointly with a spouse, remember that both you and your spouse have to sign each form. Without your signatures, the forms are invalid and won’t be accepted.
Most of these common mistakes are simply caused by a lack of double checking your facts and figures. It’s easy to get caught up in the attitude of just wanting the chore to be done and then forgetting to look everything over before submitting the forms. However, it will become even more of a chore if you have to go back and redo your taxes or your return gets delayed due to a silly mistake that could have been avoided.
Research from USA Today