Individuals choose to electronically file their tax returns at an ever-growing rate. The IRS expects e-filing to make up an overwhelming majority of the returns they receive this year as well. Unfortunately, while the computer programs were designed to catch errors and protect taxpayers from costly mistakes, an individual might still face an IRS clarification, investigation or audit to clear up any potential issues with the e-filed return.
Two mistakes that can dramatically impact an e-filed tax return are choosing the wrong filing status and failing to accurately record deductions.
- Incorrectly choosing a filing status, whether it is tied to the selection of the program to install or the course of the tax return itself, can have a dramatic impact on the information the app includes. Programmers design this software to follow a set path to lead the taxpayer through relevant portions of the return and answer the questions the IRS has. If the taxpayer is answering questions based on the incorrect filing status, it could miscalculate deductions. It is not uncommon for a married couple to file separately, but there are specific rules to follow.
- Incorrect deductions can quickly sink a tax return whether filed on paper or electronically. Whether the deductions are tied to large medical expenses or charitable gifts, the taxpayer must identify the deductible expenses and keep detailed records of them.
Additionally, unless the taxpayer meets certain conditions, the e-filing process generally means that no paperwork must be delivered to the IRS. Even with this in mind, taxpayers should keep meticulous files on hand in case an IRS tax audit becomes a reality. From receipts for any donations or paperwork for any itemized deductions, having these records carefully filed away can help in preparing for an audit should any questions arise.