NASE Blogs

April mistakes bring May headaches - Tax Tip #5

Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Posted by Keith Hall (NASE Tax Expert) - We knew it would happen. April is here and many of us still haven't finished our tax return. There are still a couple of weeks to go, so don't feel too rushed, but it's time to get busy. As you plow through all of the paper and numbers and receipts, let me plant one thing in the back of your mind to keep you focused. The number one reason that this return might spark that dreaded letter from the IRS asking for more detail, or worse, for more money, is math errors. 

That's right! The most likely reason that some random Saturday in your future will be ruined by a big white envelope with "INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE" in the upper left corner is a math error. The error could be bad addition or subtraction. The error could be a transposed Social Security Number or miscalculated deduction or credit. But almost all of these errors could have been caught before you mailed the return or hit "submit" on your computer. Just like high school algebra, you could have caught your errors if you had just checked your work one more time.

So as you plan the next few weeks, make sure you plan some time to check your math. Even if you have a professional prepare the return for you, go back and check the math. Check the Social Security numbers and check the addition and subtraction. If you are preparing the return yourself, consider using an automated software program such as TurboTax or TaxCut which will catch many of those silly errors for you. But regardless of how you prepare your tax return, before you send anything to the IRS be sure to check the math. And when you're done with that, check it again. 

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