Tax season 2023: avoid these mistakes when filing your tax return with the IRS

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Come tax season, most of us want the same thing: for the IRS to smoothly process our tax returns and send us any refunds as quickly as possible.

Now, making that happen depends on preparing your tax return correctly and following a key recommendation from the IRS: File electronically and have your refund arrive in direct deposit.

1. Do not send your declaration if you have not received all the required documents

The IRS warns that one of the most common mistakes is to submit the tax return prematurely if the person has not received all the necessary documents. “You risk making a mistake that could delay processing” of your taxes, the IRS said.

Which documents or forms you need when preparing your return will depend in part on the type of income you received during 2022, your marital status, or other considerations.

In the note below we detail some of the documents that you may need to have with you, ranging from the W-2 form issued by employers to the different 1099 forms in which income such as unemployment aid is recorded.

2. Check Social Security numbers

Your Social Security number, your spouse’s if filing jointly, and any dependents listed on the return. “They must appear exactly as they are printed on the Social Security card,” the IRS says.

3. And all the names that appear on the tax return

As with Social Security numbers, all names on the statement must be spelled correctly as they appear on the Social Security card, not one letter more or less.

4. All your income must be declared to the IRS

That is why it is important that you make a list of all the income you received last year: salaries, dividends if you have shares in the stock market, interest on a bank account or financial instruments…

“All income reported on a return must be placed carefully. This includes any information necessary to calculate credits and deductions. Use a software specific to ‘taxes’ can avoid some calculation error, but people should always review their tax return to ensure its accuracy,” recommends the IRS.

5. Be careful when placing your civil status

The civil status that must be included in the tax return is key since it determines what forms or documents you need, what deductions apply to you and what credits you may be eligible for, among other points.

If you need help determining the civil status that should go on your return, the IRS has an interview type tool for this. You will need to know the following: your marital status and, if applicable, the date of your spouse’s death; and what percentage each member of your household spends on its proper maintenance.

It is even more recommended that you use that tool if you are in doubt and it is possible that more than one marital status applies to you.

6. And when doing the calculations

“Math errors are among the most common. They range from simple addition or subtraction to more complex calculations. Taxpayers should always check their calculations. Better yet, a software of ‘taxes’ does them automatically,” says the IRS.

7. Make sure what credits or deductions apply to you

This is especially important for those who are waiting for a refund from the IRS for credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, or Credit for Child or Dependent Care.

The IRS tool mentioned above can also help you know for sure what credits you are eligible for, as well as use a software taxes when preparing your return.

In this note we explain in detail what a credit is and what are the requirements of some of them.

8. If you ask for a direct deposit, check these numbers

There are two that must be correct: the routing number of your bank and the number of your bank account. Remember that the IRS sends refunds more quickly for those who request a direct deposit. “It is the fastest way for taxpayers to have their money,” emphasizes the agency.

9. Don’t forget to sign your statement

“An unsigned tax return is invalid,” says the IRS. “In most cases, both spouses must sign it if it’s a joint return,” he adds.

There are some exceptions and that is why it is advisable to consult with a tax expert when preparing the ‘taxes’.

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