Updated: Jun 19
The IRS encourages taxpayers to take specific measures to avoid errors when filing their tax returns. By following these guidelines, you can prevent processing delays, facilitate a smoother refund process, and reduce the need for adjustments and amended returns. Here are some practical steps to help you file an accurate and error-free tax return:
Verify personal information
Before submitting your tax return, double-check your personal information. Ensure that your Social Security Number (SSN), as well as your spouse's and dependents' SSNs, are accurate. Additionally, confirm that your name, address, and filing status are correct.
Report income accurately
It's crucial to report all income, including wages, interest, dividends, and other earnings. Make sure to obtain all necessary forms, such as W-2s and 1099s, before filing your return. Cross-check the amounts reported on these forms with your records to avoid discrepancies. It’s better to err on the side of caution and report everything, even if it is a small amount. The IRS and your state tax agency get copies of the forms you receive, so they’re expecting to see them reported on your filings.
Take advantage of e-filing
E-filing is a secure, efficient, and accurate way to file your tax return. The IRS's e-file system reduces the likelihood of errors, provides confirmation of receipt, and can expedite your refund. Additionally, most taxpayers qualify for free e-filing through the IRS Free File program.
Use tax software or a professional tax preparer
Tax software and professional tax preparers can help you identify deductions and credits, calculate taxable income, and ensure the accuracy of your return. By using these resources, you can minimize errors and increase your chances of receiving the maximum refund possible. This is especially important when considering business tax returns, which are considerably more complicated than personal returns. Measure twice, and cut once with a good tax professional.
Double-check your math
If you're preparing your tax return manually, pay close attention to your calculations. Incorrect figures can lead to an overpayment or underpayment of taxes, resulting in processing delays and potential penalties. If you're using tax software, review the numbers it generates for accuracy or ask a CPA for a quick lookover to make sure your return makes sense.
Verify bank account information
When expecting a direct deposit refund, ensure that your bank account and routing numbers are correct. Incorrect banking information can delay your refund and may cause it to be returned to the IRS.
Sign and date your tax return
A common error is forgetting to sign and date your tax return. Both you and your spouse (if filing jointly) must sign and date the return before submission. If filing electronically, you will need to e-sign your return and complete an e-signature authorization to make sure it’s done properly.
Submit your tax return on time
Avoid penalties and interest by filing your tax return on or before the deadline. If you need more time, you can request an extension using Form 4868. However, an extension only grants additional time for filing, not for paying any taxes owed.
By following these steps, you can minimize errors, prevent processing delays, and ensure a smoother tax filing experience. The IRS is committed to assisting taxpayers in submitting accurate tax returns, and these recommendations can help you achieve that goal with ease and confidence. Schedule a free consultation with Iota Finance today and let us help you navigate the world of taxation with confidence and ease.