Many taxpayers file their returns in a rush to beat the March deadline and will not take much of their time to review the return’s form before submitting it. This last minute rush can easily lead to errors, some of which may cost you money. An error of understated income and by extension, taxes for example, may cost you interest and penalties when discovered later. Therefore, ensure that you thoroughly review the return before submitting it. However, if you are pressed for time- and many return4refund taxpayers are – then the checklist below can help you have a quick last minute review of your returns:
Confirm Amounts and File Documentation – The first step you should take is to countercheck the amounts included in the Form 1040 with the amounts indicated in the W-2, 1099s, and other support documentation. This is also an opportune time to file the support documentation for your tax return. After you have verified the amounts, add up the totals to ensure that you have not made a mathematical error.
Compare With Previous Return – Next, compare your current tax return form and the form you filed in the previous year. This will help you confirm that you have claimed all due tax reliefs and that you have accounted for any tax related changes that happened within the year.
Inquire – If your tax returns are being prepared by a tax preparer, then reviewing the numbers and comparing with the previous year’s returns will enable you inquire about any changes that you may not understand in your tax return form.
Verify Personal Information – Once you are okay with the substance of the return, you can proceed and confirm the personal information indicated. Ensure that you have indicated the correct Social Security numbers for yourself, your spouse if filing jointly and your children if claiming child related tax relief. If names have changed such as in the case of marriage or divorce, ensure that you have updated your new name with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and received a new Social Security card before updating your tax return forms. If you have changed your address within the year, ensure that you have filed a Change of Address form with IRS prior to filing returns.
Proper Signing – Ensure that you sign correctly and if it is a joint return, ensure that your spouse signs appropriately. If your spouse passed away within the tax year being accounted for, you may indicate “Surviving Spouse” against your name and keep the other signatory space blank. Ensure that your tax preparer signs and indicates his or her PTIN number.
Attachments – Ensure that you attach all required documentation before filing. This includes the “Copy B” of all the Form W-2s and 1099-Rs. For those claiming specific reliefs that require attachments such as the Adoption Credit, ensure that you have attached the correct documentation.
Take a Copy – Finally, before filing the tax return, ensure that you take a copy of the Form 1040 and attachments. File this copy in your tax file next to the other support documentation. If you are filing electronically, print a copy of the form before submitting and after filing, ensure that you print the IRS “Acceptance” notification.
Filing – If you are filing manually, ensure that you send out the Form 1040 with the right attachments. You can attach a check for paying due taxes to the Form 1040. The check should be written to the “United States Treasury”. Include your Social Security Number on the check. However, do not mail any other IRS form together with the Form 1040. Every IRS form should be mailed in a separate envelope. You can then proceed and post the mail using registered mail before the required deadline and retain the registered mail receipt as evidence of having filed.
Rob L Daniel and partners of Limon Whitaker & Morgan, for years have helped businesses and individuals Nationwide, with their delinquent IRS & State tax problems. The firm is based in Los Angeles, California USA. [http://www.limonwhitaker.com] / Tel:888.321.6188
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