Avoid These Mistakes to Get Your Tax Refund Earlier
Simple errors like these can prevent you from getting your refund from the IRS promptly.
The understaffed and underfunded Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is facing an uphill climb this tax season.
And now, there is even more urgency to send out refunds that millions of Americans are entitled to with the April 18 tax day deadline fast approaching.
With this in mind, try not to make these particular mistakes that could delay your refund for weeks or even months.
This is probably the easiest thing to do to get a tax refund as soon as possible. The IRS came into this tax season with a whopping 24 million unprocessed personal tax returns and correspondence from prior years, and this has undoubtedly affected the processing of the current year’s returns.
If you decide to file a paper return, know that the information must be manually entered into the IRS system—a time-consuming process that will likely only add to the massive backlog. According to Business Insider, ITS tax examiner Shawn Gunn said this has created an “insane” work environment.
Picture a stereotypical office full of cubicles, and then “imagine that filled with like hundreds of carts just everywhere,” Gunn said. The IRS was always running out of those carts, and “at one point, we'd literally have a bunch of tax forms that we could sort, but we didn't have carts to put 'em on. So they just sat.”
“All the hallways, all of the walkways were just full of paper,” Gunn said. “You've got enough room to get to your desk, but that's it.”
Use Best Filing Status
Taxpayers have the option to choose among five filing statuses: single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, and qualifying widow or widower with dependent children.
According to CNBC, “your filing status can affect how much you pay, and while multiple different statuses may be allowed for your situation, one could result in a higher tax burden.”
Report All Taxable Income
If a taxpayer wants to avoid costly penalties and interest, it’s best to report all taxable income—no matter how small. Entering information on a W-2 form might seem obvious but remember to keep track of all the 1099 forms as well, which are often sent out for freelance work.
Keep in mind that employers aren’t legally obligated to report your earnings to the IRS unless the amount paid exceeds $600, but they sometimes still do, according to Riley Adams, a certified public accountant who runs Young and the Invested, per CNBC.
Make Sure Names and Numbers Are Correct
CNBC said that “a simple typo can hold up your tax return for weeks.”
Therefore, it is obviously important that one’s Social Security number, date of birth, and bank account and routing numbers are error-free. Don’t forget to sign it as well.
“The beauty of the electronic filing is if you’ve got a misspelling of your name or an incorrect Social Security number, the IRS will kick that back to you pretty quickly, letting you know there’s an error,” Adams said.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.