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December 2018

Common Tax-Filing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them 

The end of the year is getting closer and closer, which means that we must prepare our tax return in order to file it on time. However, more often than we’d like to admit, we might end up caught in the rush of things. This rush may lead us to make some quite common tax-filing mistakes that we should avoid.

Sometimes, trying to finish our taxes before the year is over can become quite an overwhelming task. As a result, making math mistakes, filing with the wrong status, forgetting about side-jobs, and even mailing unsigned forms could cost more than double checking. These are some of the most common tax-filing mistakes, and we’ll tell you how to avoid them.

Making Math-Mistakes

Believe it or not, making math mistakes when preparing our taxes is quite a common mistake. If you’re the kind of person that rather use pencil and paper, don’t forget to double, even triple check before submitting any of your forms. Even when it sounds unlikely, this is a problem that many taxpayers still face.

The best way to avoid math mistakes, though, is using e-filing software or apps instead. This software will be able to catch on any possible mistake you might have made. Therefore, it will help you submit an accurate tax return. There are many free options available, including the ones by H&R Block and Turbotax.

Filing Under the Wrong Status

Filing under the wrong status one of the most common tax-filing mistakes people continue to make year after year. The IRS recognizes five different status you can file under. These include Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household, and Qualified Widow/Widower with Dependent Child.

The Head of Household status tends to be the one most claimed in error, according to the IRS. As a result, they offer an Interactive Tax Assistant through their website. Such an assistant can help you figure out which status you should use.

Forgetting to Add Any Side-Jobs

During the last couple of years, more and more Americans are becoming a part of the gig economy. Having a part-time job to help you earn some extra income is more common than we might think. This is, in a part, thanks to apps like Uber or Wag, which allow partners to work whenever they have the time to.

If you have worked for an app of the like or done some work as a contractor or freelancer, don’t forget to add this income to your tax report. Also, remember that you might be able to add some of your expenses as business expenses if they qualify.

Mailing Unsigned Forms

Another one of the most common tax-filing mistakes that people keep committing is mailing forms without the corresponding signature. We can’t stress enough how important it is to double, even triple check that everything is in order before mailing.

If you want to make sure you don’t make any of these really common tax-filing mistakes, we also recommend hiring professional help. This way, not only you will avoid mistakes or errors, but you could also maximize your tax returns.

How to Avoid Falling for A Tax Collection Scam 

This week is the National Tax Security Awareness Week, and during such, efforts are made in order to keep taxpayers informed and prepared to avoid being victims of fraud. As most of us start preparing our year-end paperwork, we need to know how to avoid falling for a tax collection scam. During this season, fraudsters start targeting and attacking unsuspecting taxpayers across the country.

In order to avoid finding ourselves in this kind of situation, there are some aspects we need to consider. First of all, we need to be fully aware of what a tax collection scam really entails. Then we must be ready to identify the different signs that can give a fraudster away. Also, we must know what to do in case we happened to become victims of a tax collection scam.

What Is a Tax Collection Scam?

The term Tax Collection Scam, or Tax Scam, refers to any kind of fraudulent contact that attempts to deceit a person into paying a given amount to a fraudster pretending to be an IRS employee. The most common type of Tax Scams is fraud phone calls. However, during the last couple of years, fraudsters have also sent phishing emails to taxpayers.

In most cases, scammers will tell you that you have a balance of overdue taxes or penalties. They will urge you to make a deposit as soon as possible, too. It is also common to receive threats of arrest, deportation, and loss of business, too.

How Can You Identify a Tax Collection Scam?

There are many signs that can give away a tax scammer quite easily. The very first thing we need to know is that the IRS never contacts taxpayers by phone. If you happened to have an overdue balance with them, the IRS would contact you by letter, first.

Second, the IRS does not request taxpayers to make payments via direct deposits or wire transfers or using a credit card over the phone. They have a secure online portal where taxpayers can make payments in a safe and monitored way. You can find more about their payment options here.

You should remember that scammers will use common names and even give fake IRS badge numbers. Also, they can make the Caller ID display the name of the IRS in order to trick taxpayers. They might also be able to give you the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. Therefore, you must remain alert in case you are being the target of a tax collection scam.

What to Do If Am A Target of a Tax Collection Scam?

Whenever we suspect a fraudster is trying to make us fall for a tax collection scam, we must always remain calm. Even when they might sound aggressive and threatening, we should stay calm and disconnect the call. Never confirm nor provide any of the information they might give or ask from you. Instead of engaging with the scammers, hang up and contact the IRS immediately. They will be able to confirm or deny whether you have an overdue balance with them or not.

They also have a security awareness campaign called “Taxes. Security. Together.” that aims at creating a strong partnership among taxpayers and professionals. They have a list of prevention steps to take in order to avoid falling into any kind of tax collection scam.