Filing taxes requires so much detailed paperwork, mistakes are bound to happen. If you prepare your own taxes, chances are you’ve made one of the seven most common mistakes, featured on CNN Money, in your lifetime.
- Forgetting to sign your return. It’s simple, but it’s easy to forget. Just like an unsigned check, an unsigned tax return isn’t valid, so you’ll have to correct it if you forget.
- Entering the wrong Social Security number. Numbers are prone to mis-typing, and we don’t catch typos in numbers as quickly as we do words.
- Entering the wrong name. I can’t think of an excuse for this one, but the IRS says it happens more than you’d think, especially after people get married and change their last name.
- Entering the wrong filing status. Are you head-of-household? Many people aren’t sure, particularly those who are divorced parents of minor children.
- Mistakenly claiming credits or deductions you don’t qualify for. Some people forget to claim credits they are eligible for, but more claim ones they aren’t. Commonly-abused are the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child and Dependent Care Credit, and the standard deduction.
- Wrong bank account number. You’d think people would be checking their bank account number twice since that’s how they get their refunds. But it’s a popular mistake.
- Math errors. This one is easy to understand, especially with complicated returns that have lots of calculations. The IRS says people who file with pen and paper are 20 times more likely to make mistakes than those who e-file.
You can rise above the majority of the population next tax season when you double-check each of these problem areas and make sure your return doesn’t contain any of these common errors.