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Common Tax Mistakes to Avoid: Essential Tips for Taxpayers

Common Tax Mistakes to Avoid: Essential Tips for Taxpayers

Filing taxes can be a complex process, and you’re bound to make mistakes if you’re not careful. These mistakes can delay processing your tax return, potential audits, penalties, and interest.

Here are eight common tax mistakes that taxpayers often make and tips on how to avoid them.

Filing Late or Not at All

One of the most common mistakes taxpayers make is simply not filing their tax return on time or not filing at all. The IRS imposes penalties for late filing and payment, which can add up quickly. If you can’t afford to pay your tax bill in full, it’s better to file on time and set up a payment plan with the IRS.

Tip: Mark your calendar with the tax filing deadline (usually April 15, unless it falls on a weekend or holiday). If you need more time, you can file for an extension. However, remember that an extension to file is not an extension to pay. You’ll still need to pay at least an estimated amount by the original deadline to avoid penalties.

Incorrect or Incomplete Information

Another common mistake is providing incorrect or incomplete information on your tax return. This includes everything from misspelling your name or entering the wrong Social Security number to forgetting to report income or deductions.

Tip: Double-check all the information on your tax return before you submit it. Ensure all your personal information is correct and complete, and carefully review your income and deductions. Don’t forget to report income from all sources, not just your main job.

Math Errors

Math errors are another common mistake on tax returns. These can range from simple addition and subtraction errors to more complex mistakes in calculating deductions or credits.

Tip: Use tax preparation software or a tax professional to help ensure your calculations are correct. If you’re doing your taxes by hand, double-check all your math.

Choosing the Wrong Filing Status

Your filing status can affect your tax rates and the deductions and credits you’re eligible for. Some taxpayers make the mistake of choosing the wrong filing status, such as filing as Single when they qualify for Head of Household.

Tip: Review the IRS guidelines for each filing status to ensure you choose the right one. If you’re not sure, consider seeking help from a tax professional.

Not Claiming All Eligible Deductions and Credits

Many taxpayers miss out on money-saving deductions and credits because they’re unaware of them or don’t think they qualify. Commonly overlooked deductions and credits include the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child and Dependent Care Credit, and deductions for student loan interest or medical expenses.

Tip: Research the deductions and credits that might apply to you. Again, tax software or a tax professional can help ensure you’re not missing out on any potential tax savings.

Not Keeping Good Records

Good record-keeping is essential for accurate tax filing. Without clear records, you might forget about the income you need to report or miss out on eligible deductions. Plus, if the IRS ever audits you, keeping good records can save you a lot of headaches.

Tip: Keep track of all your income and expenses throughout the year, and save receipts for any potential deductions. Consider using a system or software to help you stay organized.

Direct Deposit Errors

If you expect a refund and choose direct deposit, enter your bank account information correctly. An error could delay your refund or send it to the wrong account.

Tip: Double-check your bank account and routing number before submitting your tax return. That way, there won’t be any delays when the IRS deposits your tax refund.

Not Seeking Help When Needed

Taxes can be complicated, and it’s okay to seek help if you need it. Some taxpayers make the mistake of trying to handle complex tax situations independently, leading to errors.

Tip: If you’re uncomfortable doing your taxes yourself, consider hiring a tax professional. They can help ensure your taxes are done correctly and often find additional deductions or credits you might have missed.


Avoiding these common tax mistakes can save you time, stress, and potentially a lot of money. At 800Tax, we’re here to help you navigate the tax filing process and ensure your return is accurate and complete. If you have any questions or need help with your taxes, call us today to get your free consultation!


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