What's Your Best Tax Tip

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What’s your best tax tip?
Here are some things the experts say could cost you money when filing your taxes.  What would you add to the list?  Comment here and 6:45 tomorrow morning.

Mismatched Social Security numbers. Taxpayers may be rejected for certain credits if the Social Security numbers don’t perfectly match for every person on a tax return. If you have a spouse and several children, you may want to give those Social Security cards one more look, says Lisa Greene-Lewis, a certified public accountant and tax expert for TurboTax.

Misspelled names. Same issue here; the IRS says names must be entered exactly as they are on Social Security cards.

Wrong filing status. There are some complicated cases. For instance, some married people may be able to claim head of household if they are separated and living with a child, says Lindsey Buchholz, lead analyst with the Tax Institute at H&R Block. If you don’t know which one to pick, the IRS offers some guidance here.

Math mistakes. This applies more to people filing paper returns, since most tax-preparation software will take care of the math. Either way, make sure the numbers add up.

Errors on credits and deductions. The IRS says many taxpayers mess up when calculating things like the earned-income tax credit. It’s also worth make sure you are claiming the right standard deduction, which is larger for taxpayers who are 65 and older or blind.

Unsigned forms. Unsigned returns will be rejected. Remember both spouses must sign the returns—and don’t forget to add the date.

Incorrect electronic signatures. E-filed returns are signed using a Personal Identification Number. Tax-preparation software will also ask taxpayers to enter their adjusted gross income from a previously filed return. If you had to correct your return, be careful to use the AGI from your original return and not from the amended return.



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