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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