The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has grabbed the headlines in 2018. However, if you still have to file your 2017 tax return, it will generally be based on prior law. For example, you may itemize deductions under the old rules on your 2017 return, even though you expect to claim the standard deduction in 2018.
Here’s a checklist of common errors for filers to avoid:
- Math errors. It’s easy to do if you’re crunching the numbers yourself. Even if you rely on software, you still must enter accurate figures. Double- and triple-check all the figures on the forms to ensure you got them right.
- Misspelled or incorrect names. You’ll need to file your taxes using the current names that match official records for yourself, your spouse and dependents. If a name changed because of marriage, be sure the name change is filed with the Social Security Administration before you file.
- Wrong bank account numbers. If you’re using direct deposit for a refund and you use the wrong account numbers, your refund may be delayed a long time. Remember, check those numbers!
- Forgotten 1099s. For savings accounts and investments, you should have received 1099-INT and 1099-DIV forms. Ditto for 1099-MISCs from side jobs or self-employment. Make sure to account for income by using those forms or you may face penalties.
- Mistaken assumptions. For instance, if you’re married, you may assume that filing jointly is the best option, but that’s not always the case. We can help answer your questions about your filing status.
- Omitted Social Security number. While many people are wary of giving out this sensitive number, it’s vital to claiming certain tax breaks like the child tax credit or a higher education credit. Understand that precautions are made to keep your information secure.
- Missed charitable contributions. This deduction is often a big-ticket item for itemizers. Make sure you’re claiming the full amount you’re entitled to.
- Forget to sign. This final step in completing the return is critical for both paper and electronic filers. Make it a point to review all your forms and check for needed signatures.
We can help you maximize the available benefits while minimizing potential problems like those above. To help with the process, organize your records, receipts, and other tax return information so you’ll have everything we need when you come into our office. Give us a call if you have questions.
And don’t forget: The tax return filing deadline is April 17. Give us a call. We’re here to help!