Avoiding Mistakes When You’re Up Against the Deadline for Filing Your Tax Return

As the deadline for filing your tax return approaches, it’s important to avoid rushing and making mistakes. Errors on your return could cause a delay in receiving your refund. Overlooking income that you should have reported could result in a notice from the IRS. And you might miss credits and deductions that could reduce your tax.

Avoid common errors

If you file a return on paper or use the IRS free file fillable forms, you will be responsible for entering all the information on the correct lines of the different forms and schedules. You should be aware of how to report all your income, expenses, deductions, and credits, and which supporting schedules and worksheets are required. You should double-check all the information and calculations before filing your return. The IRS provides a checklist of common errors when preparing your tax return.

If you use tax software

If you use tax software to prepare your return, the software will generally do the math and complete the forms and attachments. But the software can only prepare the return based on the information you enter. So you should be careful in entering social security numbers, the information from your W-2 and 1099s, all your other income and expenses, and your account number if you choose direct deposit of your refund.

Tax software will generally guide you through the preparation of your return with prompting questions. You should follow the prompts and instructions carefully to ensure you take advantage of all your deductions and credits. A general awareness of the tax benefits you may qualify for will help you follow the prompts that apply to you.

Tax preparer

If you decide to use a tax preparer, you should keep in mind that they generally have a heavy workload as the deadline for filing approaches. But a professional will let you know if he or she has the necessary time to properly attend to your return and whether you should apply for an extension.

Having all your documentation in order will help the preparer. And you should leave a phone number where you can be contacted to quickly answer any questions the preparer may have regarding your tax return.

If you need to request an extension

If you need more time to get your documentation together and prepare your return, you may want to file for an extension of time to file. But it’s important to remember that an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. If you owe tax, you may be charged a late-payment penalty and interest on your late payment, even if you filed for an extension of time to file.

To apply for an extension, you can file Form 4868 electronically using e-file or on paper. When you file for an extension you can make a payment for the tax you expect to owe by credit or debit card if you file electronically, or send a check if you mail a paper Form 4868.

Sources:
Access Free File Fillable Forms Here – IRS
Form 4868 – Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return – IRS
Information for e-file – IRS
Topic 303 – Checklist of Common Errors When Preparing Your Tax Return – IRS
Topic 304 – Extensions of Time to File Your Tax Return – IRS