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Sunday May 26, 2024

Washington News

Washington Hotline

Ten IRS Tips To Avoid Tax Return Errors

On March 18, 2024, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reminded taxpayers that the April 15 filing deadline is quickly approaching. To assist taxpayers, the IRS offered ten tips to help avoid tax errors and speed up any potential refund.
  1. Tax-Related Paperwork — Taxpayers should collect all Forms W-2 and 1099. You may have other paperwork that supports your charitable tax deductions, education credits and mortgage interest payments. You should also have access to your 2022 tax return.
  2. Electronic Filing — There are several ways to file electronic returns. Taxpayers can use the IRS Free File program or the new Direct File Pilot which is now available in 12 states. Filing online minimizes math errors, and the software will highlight potential tax credits or deductions. In addition, with electronic filing you can request a prompt refund through direct deposit.
  3. Filing Status — You may file as a single person, a head of household, a married couple filing jointly or a married couple filing separate returns. It is important to select the correct filing status. If you have any questions, use the Interactive Tax Assistant on IRS.gov.
  4. Names, Birthdates and Social Security Number — You must correctly report your name, date of birth and Social Security Number. A frequent error is failing to report this information for each dependent on your return. If a dependent does not have a Social Security Number, you should obtain and use an Individual Tax Identification Number for them.
  5. Digital Assets — All taxpayers are required to answer "Yes" or "No" to the digital asset question. If you have any digital asset transactions, you are required to report the related income. The Digital Assets page on IRS.gov provides additional information.
  6. All Taxable Income — Taxpayers are generally required to report all income. If you fail to report all your income, your tax refund may be delayed. Income could include interest earnings, unemployment benefits, gig economy earnings or payments from digital asset sales. IRS Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income may be helpful if you have questions.
  7. Bank Routing and Account Numbers — Most taxpayers use direct deposit for their refund. To do so, they must provide the correct bank information to receive a direct deposit. It may greatly delay your refund if you do not have the correct routing and account number.
  8. Sign and Date Your Return — If you are submitting a joint return, both spouses must sign and date the return. If you are filing electronically, both spouses will need to authenticate signatures by inputting the adjusted gross income (AGI) from their 2022 tax return. There is assistance on IRS.gov with the title "Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return."
  9. Proper Address for Paper Return — If you choose to file a paper return, you must be careful to select the correct mailing address for the IRS. There are instructions for IRS Form 1040 to assist with mailing if you file a paper return.
  10. Copy of Your Tax Return — Taxpayers should create and retain a copy of their return. This will help with future tax returns, identity verification and electronic filing.

Published March 22, 2024
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