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Don’t make these 7 mistakes on your tax return

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The tax filing deadline of April 15 is less than a month away.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning taxpayers to avoid certain mistakes that will slow down getting your refund.

Watch out for these eight common errors, the agency said.

1. Use electronic filing

The IRS says filing your return electronically will help you avoid simple math mistakes. Using IRS Free File or alternative e-file service providers will also help you find potential tax credits or deductions, it said.

“It’s essential for taxpayers to carefully review their tax returns to ensure accuracy,” it said. “Opting for electronic filing and selecting direct deposit is the fastest and safest way to receive a refund.”

2. Married? Single?

Your eligibility for deductions and credits, and the potential amount of your refund, may change significantly depending on whether you file a joint return with a spouse, or if you file as a single or a head of household. The IRS recommends you use its Interactive Tax Assistant if you’re not sure which filing status is right for your situation.

3. Get the specifics right

The IRS says you should make sure that names, birthdates and Social Security numbers are correct to stop any delays or errors in processing your return.

In cases where a dependent or spouse doesn’t have a Social Security number and may be ineligible to obtain one, an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) should be listed instead. To obtain an ITIN, you must complete IRS Form W-7, IRS Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

4. Don’t forget about crypto

The IRS said everyone who files Forms 1040, 1040-SR, 1040-NR and others must answer the question about digital assets, including cryptocurrencies.

“The question must be answered by all taxpayers, not just by those who engaged in a transaction involving digital assets in 2023,” it said. “Taxpayers must report all income related to digital asset transactions.”

5. Don’t skimp on income

The IRS said that most income is subject to taxation, whether you receive a 1099 from an employer or not.

Failing to accurately report income may result in accrued interest and penalties, it said.

Be sure to include all interest earnings, unemployment benefits and tips — such as those received by people who work in the service industry — and all “gig economy” or freelance income.

6. Double check bank accounts

If you request a direct deposit refund, be sure to offer the correct bank routing and account numbers, the IRS said.

This will help you get the fastest possible refund and make sure your money isn’t misdirected to someone else’s account.

7. Sign and date your return

Sign and date your return to avoid any processing delays. If you’re filing a joint return, both spouses need to sign and date the return.

You should also you keep a copy of your signed tax returns and all documentation related to your income, deductions or credits. You will need this if you ever need to file an amended return or to correct any mistakes.

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Karin Price Mueller may be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on X at @KPMueller.

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