Taxes

6 Common Tax Return Mistakes That Could Cost You

Nobody wants to drag out the tax filing process — just make sure you aren’t sacrificing accuracy for speedy filing.

To help you avoid making any costly errors this year, we’ve put together six common mistakes taxpayers make when filing their federal tax returns so you know how to prevent them ahead of time.

1. Filing too early

The earlier you file, the earlier you’ll usually see your income tax refund. But while you don’t want to wait until the tax deadline (April 18 for tax year 2021) to file, you also don’t want to file too early.

So, what’s the sweet spot? You can still file early! Just make sure you wait until you have all the tax documents you need before filing your tax return, such as any W-2s, 1099s, or other necessary tax forms.

2. Missing or inaccurate information

This probably goes without saying, but typos are bound to happen in the days of e-filing.

Some of the most common mistakes in this area include misspelled names, missing or incorrect Social Security numbers, and entering inaccurate information on your tax forms, such as wages, bank interest, dividends, etc.

Always double-check that any names match what’s on that person’s Social Security card and verify your numbers before you file.

3. Using the wrong filing status

Sometimes it can be tough to know which tax filing status to use — especially if more than one filing status applies to you. Choosing the wrong filing status can be a costly mistake, so it’s important to select the most beneficial one that will maximize your tax credits and deductions.

As a reminder, your filing status options are head of household, married filing jointly, married filing separately, single, and qualified widow or widower.

To recap who qualifies for each status, check out our article on

4. The math doesn’t check out

Your favorite school subject is back to haunt you — math.

Unfortunately, math errors are a common mistake on tax returns. Getting the math wrong poses a problem for both filers and the IRS. That’s why using tax software to help you e-file your return can be beneficial. TaxAct® automatically calculates the math for you as you input the numbers for your tax forms, which means there’s less chance for human error than if you filed a paper return.

Still, you should always double-check your digits before filing, just in case!

5. Inputting the wrong bank information

Direct deposit is the fastest way to receive your tax refund. But if you’re owed a refund from the IRS, something as small as a typo in your bank account numbers or routing numbers can be the difference between receiving your refund on time and waiting months to get your money.

Always triple-check that you are using the correct bank account and routing numbers when filing your income tax return. If you aren’t sure about one of these numbers, just give your bank or credit union a call to verify which ones you should be using.

6. Not signing your return

Your tax return isn’t valid without your signature! If you’re e-filing with TaxAct, we have you sign your return electronically using a Self-Select PIN before submitting your tax forms to the IRS.

And remember, if you’re filing jointly, both spouses usually need to sign the return — although some exceptions do apply.

Bypass common tax filing mistakes

Tax year 2021 comes with some unique challenges, and it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re filing an accurate return with the IRS. By avoiding these common tax filing mistakes, not only will you avoid lengthy delays, but you’ll also prevent any costly inaccuracies that could cause you to miss out on tax deductions or other important money-saving benefits.

All TaxAct offers, products and services are subject to applicable terms and conditions.

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