Personal Finance

These are the most common tax filing mistakes

The deadline to file your taxes is April 18. Tax professionals have tips on how to avoid some of the most common mistakes.

W-4 Form
AP Photo / Patrick Sison, File

These are some of the most common tax filing mistakes to watch out for, according to experts.

“Just because it didn't come in the U.S. mail doesn't mean it doesn’t exist out there. That's probably No. 1,” said Tom O’Saben, the director of tax content and government relations at the National Association of Tax Professionals. He has been a practitioner for more than 30 years.

To make sure you’re not missing any  important documents, O’Saben said to think back on the last year. Did you move? Did you switch jobs? Did you get married?

“Do the items we’re going to use for the tax return right now reflect that life?,” he said.

“Another really common error is making sure the first four letters of your last name match your social security card,” O’Saben said.

The IRS mentions a couple other common mistakes to watch out for, too:

- Incorrect filing status

- Incorrect bank account numbers

- Inaccurate information entry

If you file electronically and you do make a mistake, you have some time to fix it.

“You actually have five days after the return has been filed to fix a return that's been rejected when it was submitted electronically,” O’Saben said.

Calendar with Tax Day marked.

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If you’re filing a paper return, O’Saben said the two most common errors are simple math errors and forgetting to sign the document.

These are often less of an issue when filing electronically through a software.

Now is also the time to think ahead to next year.

“Think ahead and if you weren't satisfied with the way it came out this year, you've got time to do something about that. Whether it’s changing your withholding for the year, or maybe contributing to pension plans,” he said.

The deadline to file your taxes is April 18.

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