If you are a first-time tax filer, you’re probably feeling nervous about making a mistake that could make things complicated for you later on. You’re not wrong to feel that way because even a tiny mistake can indeed slow down your refund in the future, or it could even lead to the IRS sending a letter to you. Depending on the gravity of the mistake, it could even result in an audit.
Quite nerve-wracking, isn’t it? Well, because there’s no way around filing your taxes, the best way to ensure that you do things right is to know about the most common mistakes tax-filers commit and do your best to avoid potential tax problems in the future:
Mistake #1: Filing a Return on Paper
You might be told by your parents or other elders in the family that you simply need to pick up a tax form at the public library or download and print one from IRS.gov. What you might not know is that tax-filers who do theirs on paper are around 20 times more likely to make a mistake compared to e-filers. So as a first-timer, you would be better off doing it electronically. You can either go to IRS.gov or use tax preparation software. You can make use of the IRS Free File software if your adjusted gross income is no more than $66,000. Otherwise, you can try buying tax preparation software like TurboTax, TaxAct, or others.
Mistake #2: Entering Incorrect Social Security Number
Another typical mistake committed by taxpayers is entering the wrong Social Security number either for themselves or their dependents. To ensure this doesn’t happen, make sure you have your Social Security card with you when filling out a form and triple-check before submitting the form.
Mistake #3: Not Using the Correct Filing Status
So many taxpayers get this wrong, perhaps because not many people know the differences between the different filing statuses. For instance, instead of choosing “single,” some choose “head of household.” If you are unsure about your filing status, it is best to do your homework and find the correct answer. If you are using E-filing software, it can help you determine the correct status, too.
Mistake #4: Claiming an Exemption for Themselves When They Are Still a Dependent
Exemptions can help reduce your taxable income, and it’s possible to claim one for yourself and another for your dependents. However, since you’re filing for the first time, it’s likely that you don’t have dependents yet. Before claiming an exemption for yourself, you should first determine if you’re still listed as a dependent on your parents’ return.
If you don’t check and it turns out you’re still included on your parents’ return, that could lead to problems. They could lose dependent exemption as well as potential education tax credits that would have been available for remaining dependent college students.
Mistake #5: Failing to Include All Income Sources
When you fill out your return, you’re expected to include all your income sources, especially those that you earn from doing independent contracting work. Don’t make the mistake of coming up with just a “ballpark” figure just to expedite the process. The IRS can easily detect figures you write on your form and what your employers sent them. This kind of mistake is precisely what will get you audited, so make sure you avoid it at all costs.
These are just some of the most common causes of tax problems that many first-time tax filers commit. Because you have never done it before, it’s even more crucial that you be careful when filling out your return form. To ensure that you won’t commit any of these errors, you can always ask the assistance of a reputable tax professional.
Axiom Tax Resolution Group can provide you with a reliable tax resolution specialist in Birmingham, AL, who can help you avoid any problems with the IRS. If you happen to be already in a knot, we can provide you with a solution. Contact our team today and find out what we can do for you!