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4 common and costly tax errors

By Kemberley Washington · Bankrate.com
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Posted: 6 am ET

Tax season has arrived for another year.  However, if you are not careful, some basic errors can delay or reduce your tax refund.

Here are four common and costly errors to avoid this tax-filing season.

1. Choosing the wrong status. When you file taxes, you will have to choose a status, such as single, head of household, surviving spouse, married filing separately, etc.

Each filing status has its own advantages, so choose wisely. Selecting the wrong filing status could reduce your tax refund or increase your tax liability.

2. Using the wrong digits. One misplaced digit in your Social Security number or tax identification number can cause a delay with your tax filing.

Before submitting your tax return, check not only your number, but the numbers for your spouse and any dependents claimed on federal, state and local tax filings.

3. Overlooking tax deductions. The best way to reduce your tax liability is to take advantage of the many tax deductions available to you.

You can boost your refund through tax deductions for moving expenses, student loans, job-hunting costs and more.

4. Remaining unprepared. Make sure you are prepared in case you are audited. A tax audit can be costly if you do not maintain the proper records and receipts.

Each year, consider creating a folder and including receipts to substantiate the amounts claimed on the tax return.  This will be a big help if the Internal Revenue Service comes knocking at your door.

Kemberley Washington is a certified public accountant and teaches at Dillard University in New Orleans. Visit her blog at Kemberley.com. 

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