Anchor Intro: Every year, millions of tax returns are filed with mistakes … mistakes that can delay your refund … even cost you money. Want to avoid the most common? Bankrate.com shows you the mistakes you can avoid.

Voiceover 1: Mistakes: something you want to avoid when you drive … and when driving that tax return to completion.

Voiceover 2: Messing up at tax time can wreck a timely refund, cost you a penalty, or even result in an audit appearance. So if you are on your own, avoid common errors.

SOT: “Most common errors we see are having to do with Social Security numbers. Wrong number, no number, misplaced digit. Probably number two is having to do with the earned income tax credit, where people don’t compute it correctly.”

Voiceover 3: Another common error? Math. One reason why if you’re going it alone, tax software makes so much sense.

Voiceover 4: Of course software can’t look over your shoulder to make sure you sign the check you’re sending in … and the return.

Voiceover 5: Here’s another potential mistake: Using a simple form like an EZ, when a 1040A or 1040 would get you a bigger refund.

Voiceover 6: If you made less than $40,000 last year, there are thousands of places you can get your return prepared free. So paying a preparer could also be the wrong move.

Voiceover 7:
(E-file) And one final mistake: failing to file electronically:

SOT: “It’s faster, it’s more accurate, it’s convenient and for those that get refunds, and most people do, you’ll get your refund a lot quicker.

Standup: A lot of mistakes happen for the same reason: waiting till the last minute and rushing through the process. So the single best thing you can do for yourself is start early and take your time. Why make things more taxing than they have to be? For Bankrate.com, I’m Kristin Arnold.