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Avoid errors that cost you money when preparing your return

Posted on February 28, 2021

When you hire a firm like Teipen CPA Group to prepare your tax return, you are hiring knowledgeable tax professionals who are up-to-date on all 2020 IRS changes, adjustments and updates from the past year (and there have been many).

Filing through us reduces errors because our state-of-the-art tax software flags common errors, and prompts for missing information. We also know how to connect with the right supporting IRS forms and documents your particular situation warrants. Filing through us helps assure that you get every valuable credit and deduction to which you are entitled – and avoid costly errors.

We also connect with you safely, retrieving as much information as possible remotely, via our protected file share system. When we have a question, we will contact you in whatever way you have directed.

Then, when your tax preparation has been reviewed and approved by you and our firm, we file your return electronically using direct deposit to get any refunds faster and avoid pandemic-related mail delays.

However, we do understand that some taxpayers prefer preparing their own taxes. With that in mind, here are some common errors taxpayers should avoid when preparing a return:

  • Missing or inaccurate Social Security numbers. Each SSN on a tax return should appear exactly as printed on the Social Security card.
  • Misspelled names. Likewise, a name listed on a tax return should match the name on that person’s Social Security card.
  • Incorrect filing status. A lot can happen in a year – including filing status. The Interactive Tax Assistant on gov can guide taxpayers toward using the correct status, especially if more than one filing status applies.
  • Math mistakes. Math errors are some of the most common mistakes, and they happen pretty often — from basic addition and subtraction mistakes to more complex calculations. Taxpayers should always double-check their numbers – or choose tax prep software that does it automatically.
  • Figuring credits or deductions. What’s the difference between earned income tax credit, child and dependent care credit, and recovery rebate credit – and how does divorce fit into the picture?
  • Rebate credits. If someone is eligible for a recovery rebate credit – and either didn’t receive Economic Impact Payments or received less than the full amounts – they must file a 2020 tax return to claim the credit even if they don’t usually file. Again, the IRS Interactive Tax Assistant can help determine if a taxpayer is eligible for tax credits or deductions.
  • Update bank account numbers. Sure, direct deposit is quick, but only if the bank account and routing numbers provided are correct. Always update and double check this.
  • Unsigned forms. An unsigned tax return isn’t valid. In most cases, both spouses must sign a joint return. (Exceptions may apply for members of the armed forces or other taxpayers who have a valid power of attorney.)
  • Filing with an expired individual tax identification number. If a taxpayer’s ITIN is expired, they should go ahead and file using the expired number. The IRS will process that return and treat it as a return filed on time. However, the IRS won’t allow any exemptions or credits to a return filed with an expired ITIN. Taxpayers will receive a notice telling the taxpayer to renew their number. Once the taxpayer renews the ITIN, the IRS will process return normally.

There’s a lot to know to get a tax return prepared correctly, from understanding IRS changes and additions to getting all the details right, including math and filing status changes.

Right now is a great time to talk to us about how we can help you simplify and streamline your tax returns. Give us a call. We’ll get things done right and on time.