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3 On Your Side: Avoiding Common Tax Errors

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jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – With about two weeks to go before the filing deadline, it’s crunch time for taxpayers who haven’t yet completed or started a tax return.

That last-minute sprint to finish can sometimes lead to costly mistakes, so 3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan takes a look at some of the most common errors.

In the final days before the federal income tax filing deadline, things can get stressful.

The IRS sees some of the same costly mistakes each year, so taxpayers should take a moment to review and avoid them.

According to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, taxpayers should choose wisely among the options for filing status. Filing as single instead of head of household makes a difference; so can choosing between married filing jointly or married filing separately. Using the wrong status could result in a return being rejected, or a delayed refund.

Math errors should be less common now that so many Americans use tax preparation software. But if a math mistake means you underpay the IRS, you’ll owe the additional amount plus any interest since the due date for that return.

Speaking of interest, it starts to pile up after the April 15th deadline whether an extension is filed or not.

If you’re not ready to file and think you’re going to owe money, at least file the appropriate paperwork and try to estimate what you owe.

Finally, while it’s great to get a big refund in the spring, that’s not smartest thing to do.

You’d be better off adjusting your tax withholdings from your paycheck and getting a little extra money in your paycheck throughout the year. You can adjust withholding going forward — just fill out a new W-4 form and submit it to your employer.

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