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Top 10 Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes


Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the IRS pushed back the deadline for filing taxes to July 15 so that Americans struggling to keep their lives in order could have more time to prepare them. Most states, including California, did the same, pushing back the state tax deadline to the same date, and some even later.

Compared to previous years, IRS audits are noticeably down. In the fiscal year 2019, the IRS audited an estimated 0.5% of individual tax returns. In 2010, almost double that rate of tax returns was scrutinized in an IRS audit. Despite audit rates currently being low, people make mistakes when filing their taxes that often result in a review or a delayed return. To avoid this stressful ordeal, residents in Orange, California, take head and learn from these top 10 mistakes people make when filing their taxes.

What Are the Most Frequent Tax Filing Mistakes in California?

According to the IRS website, there are several common errors tax filers make each year during tax season. These errors vary in complexity from simple oversights to significant miscalculations. Some of these mistakes might appear easy to prevent, but they occur frequently enough to warrant a mention by the IRS.

These are the most common tax filing mistakes:

1. Failing to Make a Copy of Signed Tax Returns

Many types of loans, including mortgages and student loans, require copies of signed tax returns and other past tax information. Failing to keep a signed copy of a previous tax return delays the loan process and becomes costly, acquiring necessary copies. While the IRS can send copies of the prior year’s signed tax returns, each one costs $50. Having copies of your signed tax returns will also be helpful in the event of an audit.


2. Providing Incorrect Routing and Bank Account Numbers

This may be one of the more obvious mistakes, but inputting the incorrect bank account information happens reasonably often. When taxpayers don’t provide the correct routing and bank account numbers, the IRS may not be able to issue your tax refund through direct deposit, and your return could be delayed for months. If you owe the IRS, they can’t get paid with a faulty bank account number, so you may face penalties down the road.


3. Sending Your Tax Return to the Wrong IRS Office

Multiple IRS addresses serve different regions in the U.S., along with different kinds of tax documents. That can be confusing for many taxpayers, as this is a commonly-made mistake every year. If you accidentally mail your tax return to the incorrect office, your refund will likely be delayed.


4. Arranging Tax Documents Erroneously

Tax documents must be arranged in a particular order. Something as simple as unsuccessfully preparing documents out of order can result in a delayed refund. Make sure to keep the exact order and use the sequence numbers when submitting tax return documents.


5. Failing to Include All W-2 Forms

No matter how many jobs a person has each year, the IRS requires a W-2 that documents wages to be submitted for each employer. Taxpayers must provide all wages and withholdings combined from each form and report the total on tax returns each year. Failure to report wages and income can result in an audit.


6. Incorrectly Calculating Credits and Deductions

Taxpayers can reduce their taxable income with tax deductions, such as charitable donations. Tax credits, on the other hand, decreases the amount of taxes owed. Failing to calculate these correctly can result in overpaying or paying too little to the IRS.


7. Failing to Declare Exemptions Accurately

There are certain tax benefits from spousal and dependence exceptions that the IRS grants taxpayers in the U.S. However, to receive these benefits, you must provide exact information that details both you and your spouse's gross income amounts and date of birth. To receive benefits for dependents, you must report your relationship to the dependent along with how much financial support you provided.


8. Selecting the Wrong Filing Status

To file your tax return, you must choose a filing status used to establish specified requirements, credit eligibility, and deductions. American taxpayers have five statuses to choose from that include:

  • Single

  • Married filing jointly

  • Married filing separately

  • Head of household

  • Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child or children

9. Failing to List All Dependents Properly

To claim dependents on your tax return, you must list all names and taxpayer identification numbers for each one. When using social security numbers, all names must be spelled exactly the same as they appear on the social security card.


10. Neglecting to Sign and Date Return

The IRS will never accept a tax return that's not signed and dated. Neglecting to make this step while filing or failing to have your spouse sign and date if filing jointly will result in your tax return being sent back.

While many of these mistakes can be avoided by filing electronically, some can still occur if you aren't careful. When it comes to filing your taxes, it's critical to take your time if filing on your own to avoid these mistakes or seek the help of an accountant to avoid any tax audit or delay.

Experienced Tax Debt Lawyer in Orange, California

Receiving anything in the mail from the IRS is never a pleasant experience. If you're getting intimidating letters from the IRS concerning unsettled tax debt or other issues, don't delay in seeking legal counsel from an accomplished legal firm experienced in tax debt, like Morgan & Sebastian Law, PC. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced tax debt lawyer today, call (877) 223-6605 or complete a contact form.


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