Common Tax Mistakes to Avoid

Photo by Louis Bauer from Pexels reminds you of several common taxpayer errors that can impact your refund, and possibly your taxes, this year and beyond.  A quick check before filing can save you much pain later.  Here’s the list from the IRS of frequently received tax filing mistakes:

Missing or Wrong Social Security Numbers, or EIN numbers.  Unless this is your first year filing a tax return, you should have a record, either on your social security card, or, if you can’t find it, on your tax return from a prior year. 

Misspelled Names.  Uhm, I really don’t know how this can happen unless due to a typo.  If someone else is preparing your returns, check everything, including your name.

Incorrect Filing Status.  Using software can prevent this.  Filing status, such as marital status, dependents claimed etc., can be checked at

Math Errors.  Not necessarily addition and subtraction, but there are also complex calculations that can trip up your tax return.  Tax prep software checks this, and most tax preparers use it.

Credit or Deduction Calculations.  There are specific instructions that come with the tax return forms.  If you struggle with fine print, consider using the tax assistant app from the IRS.

Erroneous Bank Account Numbers.  If you plan to receive a tax refund by direct deposit, then make sure you use the correct routing and account numbers on your tax return.  Not sure?  Call your bank or visit in person to check your routing  number and account number.  Hint: it is not the same as your debit card visa number.

Forgetting to sign the forms.  Unsigned tax returns are not valid.  If filing jointly, both spouses must sign the return.  If filed electronically, the return can be digitally signed prior to submitting.  You may also grant limited power to your tax preparer to sign on your behalf.   

Using an Expired ITIN.  Individual tax identification numbers can expire, and several did so in 2019.  If your ITIN number did expire, the IRS instructs you to file your return anyway, so you get credit for filing on time, but no exemptions or credits are allowed to an expired ITIN.  The IRS will send a notice to renew the ITIN.  Once the taxpayer renews it, the IRS will process the return in the normal way.