Tax Hacks 2015: Avoid These 10 Common Filing Mistakes

Perfectionism isn’t always a good thing, but it is when you’re doing your taxes. Get your return done right by avoiding these 10 common mistakes.

Tax Hacks 2015: Avoid These 10 Common Filing Mistakes Photo (cc) by B Rosen

It’s time. Your W-2s and 1099s are likely making their way to your mailbox or inbox right now, assuming they haven’t already arrived.

As you start filling in your tax forms, be aware that a mistake can cost you valuable time or money. Money Talks News finance expert Stacy Johnson spoke with Tom Sawyer, a CPA with Sawyer & Latimer PA in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to uncover some of the most common tax-time mistakes.

Watch the video to see what the experts have to say, and then keep reading for the details.

Mistake No. 1: Paying for tax preparation when you could get it for free

The first mistake some people make is paying someone else to do their taxes. Depending on your income level, you may have more than one option when it comes to getting free tax prep services.

  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance: Sponsored by the IRS, VITA offers free tax preparation by trained volunteers. You may be eligible for the VITA program if your income is $53,000 or less, you have a disability, are elderly or have limited English-speaking ability.
  • Tax Counseling for the Elderly: Also sponsored by the IRS, the TCE program is intended for people age 60 and older.
  • Free File: If your income is less than $60,000, you can use an online software program to prepare and file your federal income tax return for free.

For a list of software providers, head to the Free File website. If you’d rather have face-to-face assistance, you can find a list of VITA and TCE sites on this IRS webpage.

Mistake No. 2: Getting your Social Security numbers wrong

On its list of common tax mistakes, the IRS puts wrong and missing Social Security numbers at the top.

Long gone are the days in which you could claim dependents without a Social Security number. Today, every member of your household listed on your return needs to have one. Make sure to double check all the numbers before submitting your return to ensure there aren’t any transposed or missing digits.

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