It’s tax season once again. You’ve got until April 18 to file your taxes for the 2021 tax year, but if you think you’ll get a refund, you’ll probably want to get going as soon as possible. However, it’s important not to rush so much that you make errors, which, at the least, could delay your refund. So, take the time you need to prepare your taxes – and be sure to avoid these common filing mistakes:

Failing to include all W-2 forms – You need to include official copies of all your W-2 forms from your employer (or employers). The wages and withholdings listed on these forms must be combined and reported on your tax return. 

Forgetting necessary paperwork – Make sure you have all the documents you need before filing, such as forms from investment companies, including Form 1099-INT for interest income and Form 1099-DIV for dividend income.

 Entering an incorrect Social Security number – An incorrect Social Security number can cause the IRS to reject your return. So, double-check your SSN, and that of your spouse, if filing jointly, before submitting your return.

Using the wrong column from Tax Tables – If you do your own taxes, you will probably have to refer to the 1040 Tax Tables page to make the correct calculations. But if you look at the wrong column, you could miscalculate – a mistake that’s not uncommon, according to the IRS.

Making math errors – If you file a paper tax return, be sure to check your math to make sure the figures add up. Of course, if you use a software program, or work with a tax professional, you won’t have to do the math on your own, but you should still double check it. It’s always important to review your return.

Entering the wrong routing or account number – If you want your tax refund to be deposited directly into your bank account, which is the fastest way to receive it, you need to provide the correct routing and account numbers. A simple mistake can result in the IRS sending you a paper check or, even worse, someone else receiving your refund.

Failure to sign and date your return – Signing your return is an easy task – but it’s also easy to overlook. If you file your taxes electronically, as most people do, you may be able to use a Self-Select PIN as your digital signature. If you’re filing a joint return, you and your spouse must use your respective PINs.

Missing the filing deadline – If you don’t think you can finish your taxes on time, file for an extension before the April 18 deadline. You’ll still need to pay the taxes you owe (though you may have to estimate the amount) by April 18, and if you owe more, you’ll likely accrue interest, but you can avoid failure-to-file penalties, which can be hefty.

Keep in mind that, when you submit your return electronically, the e-file system can detect typical errors, allowing you to correct them immediately, according to the IRS.

And, of course, working with a tax professional can greatly reduce the likelihood of mistakes. But even if you’re entrusting your tax returns to someone else, you still should be quite familiar with all your documentation – and everything else that goes into your taxes, too, because how you manage your taxes will always be part of your overall financial strategy.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by Joe Parlavecchio, CFA, CFP®. Visit for more information.

Edward Jones, Member SIPC.

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