Nine Common Errors Made on Tax Returns

Errors made on tax returns may delay the processing of your return and the arrival of your refund. Avoiding the common errors below will help ensure your refund arrives on time:

  1. Recovery Rebate Credit – Many returns filed in 2009 have errors involving the Recovery Rebate Credit, a credit for people who did not receive a stimulus payment in 2008 or who did not receive the maximum amount. To avoid delays in tax refunds, it is critical that taxpayers know whether they received a payment in 2008 and the correct amount of that stimulus payment. For people using a paper tax return, the stimulus payment amount will be required when completing the related worksheet. For people using tax software, the stimulus payment amount will be needed as part of the return preparation process.
  2. Incorrect or missing social security numbers – When entering SSNs for anyone listed on your tax return, be sure they are entered exactly as they appear on the social security cards. Incorrect or transposed numbers will cause delays in the processing of your return.
  3. Incorrect or misspelling of dependent’s last name – When entering dependent’s last name on your tax return, ensure they are entered exactly as they appear on the social security cards. Incorrect or misspelling of dependent’s last name will cause delays in processing of your return.
  4. Filing status errors – Make sure you choose the correct filing status for your situation.
  5. Math errors – When preparing paper returns you should review all addition and subtraction to ensure it is correct. Remember, when you file electronically, the software takes care of the math for you!
  6. Computation errors – Take your time. Many taxpayers are making mistakes when figuring the taxable income, withholding and estimated tax payments, Earned Income Credit, Standard Deduction for age 65 or over or blind, the taxable amount of social security benefits, and child and dependent care credit.
  7. Incorrect bank account numbers for Direct Deposit – If you are due a refund and requested direct deposit did you check your financial institution routing and account numbers?
  8. Forgetting to sign and date the return – An unsigned tax return is like an unsigned check – it is invalid.
  9. Incorrect Adjusted Gross Income information – Taxpayers filing electronically must sign the return electronically using a personal identification number. To verify their identity taxpayers will be prompted to enter their AGI from their originally filed 2007 federal income tax return or their prior year PIN if they used one to file electronically last year. Taxpayers should not use an AGI amount from an amended return, Form 1040X, or a math error correction made by IRS.

How to Correctly Claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2008 Return

The IRS sent taxpayers nearly 119 million economic stimulus payments last year. When filing a 2008 federal tax return, taxpayers will need to know the amount of their stimulus payment to properly determine if they are eligible for a recovery rebate credit. Continue reading “How to Correctly Claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2008 Return”

Do I Need To File A Tax Return?

For many first-time filers and low-income filers, it can be confusing to determine whether or not you need to file a tax return at all. How much do you need to make in order to be required to pay taxes? Is it possible to get a tax refund for taxes you’ve already paid from withheld payments? To help answer questions you may have about filing this year, the IRS has put together 6 reasons why you might want to file if you are not sure of your situation.

Should you file taxes this year?
Should you file taxes this year?

1. Federal Income Tax Withheld. If you are not required to file, you should file to get money back if Federal Income Tax was withheld from your pay, if you made estimated tax payments, or had a prior year overpayment applied to this year’s tax.

2. Recovery Rebate Credit. If you did not qualify or did not receive the maximum amount for the 2008 Economic Stimulus Payment, you may be entitled to a Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your 2008 tax return.

3. Earned Income Tax Credit. You may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, if you worked, but did not earn a lot of money.  EITC is a refundable tax credit meaning you could qualify for a tax refund.

4. Additional Child Tax Credit. This credit may be available to you if you have at least one qualifying child and you did not get the full amount of the Child Tax Credit.

5. First time Homebuyer Credit. If you bought a main home after April 8, 2008, and before July 1, 2009 and did not own a main home during the prior 3 years, you may be able to take this refundable credit.

6. Health Coverage Tax Credit. Certain individuals, who are receiving certain Trade Adjustment Assistance, Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance, or pension benefit payments from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, may be eligible for a Health Coverage Tax Credit when you file your 2008 tax return.

For more information about filing requirements and your eligibility to receive tax credits, visit the IRS Web site at