Tax Mistakes That Waste Money & Time

by Justin Weinger on March 3, 2013

While occasionally it’s good to learn a lesson or 2 the hard way when it comes to taxes it’s best to avoid that old adage and make as few mistakes as possible.  Delays in getting your refund and smaller refunds are the results, all of which will make you miserable and sad come tax time.  It’s not hard to make a mistake either, unfortunately, even if you’re a professional and intelligent.

The fact is, the tax code is thousands of pages and is being continuously upgraded or changed.  Making a mistake with those kinds of odds is a good bet, to be sure. We’ve found that many times the same mistakes are being made over and over and so, with that in mind, we’d like to present out Top Tax Mistakes to avoid so that you don’t waste your money and / or your time. Enjoy.

  1. Making an error on your social security number, or that of your spouse or other family member. If you receive mail from the IRS and there is an error contact the IRS right away. If you have eye trouble or for some reason can’t fill out the paperwork legible ask for help. It’s better than having the whole process stopped because of a simple mistake.
  2. Make sure you check, re-check and then triple check your math.  Simple, silly errors can make a BIG difference that can mess up the entire process and see your return check reduced. Not good.
  3. Don’t forget to SIGN your return.  Such a small mistake but, like high school, if you don’t sign it they don’t process it.  It’s even worse if you owe and forget to sign the check because penalties can sometimes accrue.
  4. Us the correct forms.  Seems so straightforward but the fact is that using, for example, a 1040EZ instead of a 1040 or 1040A might mean less of a return check for you.  Know which is the best and, if you don’t, as a professional for help.
  5. If you make less than $51,000.00 a year there are places where you can go to get your taxes filed for free. Check online to find one that’s suitable for you and get it done without the hassle of doing it yourself.
  6. Unless your tax situation has changed significantly you can probably use a software program to file them this year.  That’s what your taxman will use also, so why pay him or her?
  7. File your return for free through IRS Free File and sign up for direct deposit to get your return the fastest.
  8. Not declaring income.  Make sure that you don’t forget to list something or you may find yourself in hot water.
  9. Don’t forget any deductions.  As much as you should report what you made you should remember to deduct for everything that is possible.
  10. Taking out a loan on your refund. Not really a good idea at all.
  11. Waiting until the last minute to file is not only going to mean that you get your refund later it also means that you may rush at the last minute and make a mistake.
  12. Blowing your whole check.  Maybe spend a little but use the rest to put in savings or pay down some CC debt.
  13. Blowing your whole check on a wild weekend trip to Vegas. (We have to admit that, while this would be a ridiculous and stupid waste of your tax money, it would at least be really freakin’ awesome.)

And there you have it. 12 mistakes that most people make and what you should do instead. Also, one crazy mistake that could be a lot of fun.  Good luck with them, and have a happy tax season.


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