Gathering forms, receipts, and other paperwork to file your taxes is only half the battle. Once you´ve completed your forms, it is equally important to double-check your figures, information, and packaging procedures (as applicable to your filing method).
Make certain that you include your social security number (SSN) on each page of your return and on supporting schedules and forms when you file your return. (If you use your tax package, remember your SSN is not pre-printed on the address label or the forms.) Always review your filing entries for misprinted or overlooked data. And with a paper return, also review your forms for miscalculations. Any mistake can cause processing delays that may hold up your refund. When mailing a paper return, make sure you have enough postage and your complete return address on the IRS envelope to avoid mailing delays. If you owe taxes, remember any delay could cause you notices, penalties, and interest charges.
The tips below can serve as your checklist to prevent filing mistakes.
Important Parts of Your Return
- Enter Social Security Number(s)?
Make sure your social security number is on your return and all supporting schedules and forms.
- Check Age/Blindness Box?
If you are age 65 or older or blind, or your spouse is age 65 or older or blind, make sure you notate the appropriate box(es) on Form 1040 or Form 1040A.
- Claim Child Tax Credit?
If you have income below a certain level, and a child under age 17, you may be able to claim this credit. Read about this credit in your Forms 1040 or 1040A Instructions.
- Claim Earned Income Credit; Figure Correctly?
This tax credit can help some people who work and have income below a certain level. For more information on whether you qualify and how to figure the credit, get Publication 596, Earned Income Credit, or Publication 596SP, Crédito por Ingreso del Trabajo.
- Enter Federal Income Tax Withheld, not Social Security Tax, on the Return?
Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, shows both the federal income tax and FICA (social security tax) withheld. Remember to use the amount for federal income tax withheld on your return to calculate your total income tax payments.
- Enter Correct Standard Deduction Amount?
If you do not itemize deductions, use the correct standard deduction chart to find the right amount.
- Check Refund or Balance Due Amount?
On paper return, check your addition and subtraction. If your total payments are more than your total tax, you are due a refund. A balance due is figured when your taxes due are more than the amount you have already paid. If you make a payment by check, you should make the check out to the United States Treasury.
- Take Correct Tax from Tax Table?
When using the tax table, first you have to take the amount shown on the taxable income line of your Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ and find the line in the tax table showing that amount. Next, find the column for your marital status (married filing joint, single, etc.) and read down the column. The amount shown where the income line and filing status column meet is your tax.
Important Double-Checks on Your Paper Return Before Mailing
- Attach a copy of all Forms W-2.
- Attach all required forms and related schedules. Write your SSN (and spouse's if filing joint) on your return form and supporting schedules and forms.
- Place preprinted address label on your return and make any necessary changes on it.
- Sign and date your return (both husband and wife must sign a joint return).
- If you owe tax, include your check or money order payable to United States Treasury. Write your social security number, daytime telephone number, tax form number, and tax year on your check or money order.
- Make a copy of the return for your records.
Important Mailing Procedures
- Use preprinted envelope that came in the tax package to mail your return. If you do not have one, address an envelope to the Internal Revenue Service Center for your state.
- Write your complete return address on the envelope.
- Attach the correct postage.
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