5 Common Tax-Filing Mistakes To Avoid

Young married couple doing their paperwork together, paying taxes online.
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Filing taxes for the first time can be overwhelming and stressful, circumstances that can make it that much more likely for you to make a mistake. That said, filing an on-time, mistake-free tax return is more than possible if you plan ahead. By looking at the most common mistakes made by other first-time filers, you can be ready to avoid the most common misfortunes that befall your peers. What’s more, knowing what common areas have stymied people in similar situations can allow you to put extra focus and attention on the tasks that commonly trip up others.

Here are five common mistakes made by first-time tax filers so that you can avoid those same pitfalls.

  1. Filing a Paper Return — People sticking to paper forms are 20-times more likely to make an error, according to the IRS.
  2. Entering the Wrong Social Security Number — This may seem like a gimme, but it’s an important step. Get our your Social Security card and double check before you file.
  3. Using the Wrong Filing Status — Getting the correct filing status is essential to knowing how much of the standard deduction you can claim and what tax breaks you might qualify for.
  4. Claiming an Exemption for Yourself — If your parents are claiming you as a dependent, it can cause problems to also claim an exemption for yourself.
  5. Getting the Math Wrong — Simply botching your arithmetic is an easy mistake to make. Go over your numbers a couple of times to be sure you haven’t erred.
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About the Author

Joel Anderson is a business and finance writer with over a decade of experience writing about the wide world of finance. Based in Los Angeles, he specializes in writing about the financial markets, stocks, macroeconomic concepts and focuses on helping make complex financial concepts digestible for the retail investor.
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