Thanks to tax preparation software, more of us are making fewer mistakes on our annual tax returns. But still, just one slip in entering information on your computer could end up costing you, either in the form of a larger tax bill or a smaller refund.
And even if a mistake, either on your computer or paper forms, doesn't cost you cash, it could delay the receipt of any refund you're expecting.
Tax changes also complicate the annual tax-filing exercise. For the 2015 tax year, reporting and filing requirements prompted by the Affordable Care Act will no doubt cause problems for taxpayers, tax professionals and the IRS.
Special tax scenarios aside, there are still plenty of ways to mess up a 1040 form. Here are 10 common mistakes that show up every tax season. As you review your tax return for filing by the April 18 deadline, make sure you haven't made any of them.
1. Math miscalculations
The most common error on tax returns, year after year, is bad math. Mistakes in arithmetic or in transferring figures from one schedule to another will get you an immediate correction notice. Math mistakes also can reduce your tax refund or result in you owing more than you thought.
Using a tax software program to file your return can help reduce math errors. The built-in calculators do the work for you, adding, subtracting and inserting numbers on additional forms as needed. But you still have to make sure your initial numbers are correct. Entering $3,500 when the real figure is $5,300 makes a lot of tax difference. Getting the numbers right is crucial because you can be sure the IRS will be double-checking numerical entries against its copies of your tax statements (W-2, 1099s and the like).