It is vital that you carefully review your completed tax returns before mailing them to the IRS. It really doesn’t matter if you hired a tax preparer because you are legally responsible for any information contained on the tax return forms. If the forms are being submitted electronically, it is still important that you take time with your tax preparer to review every detail before clicking “SUBMIT.” To avoid common errors on your tax returns, consider the following factors.
Social Security Numbers: It is mandatory that the right Social Security numbers be entered on all the pages of your tax returns. You must therefore, double check that the numbers on each page are correct, as your refunds can be held up if a wrong number appears. Did you change your official name in the year because of either marriage or divorce? Please apply for a new Social Security card before filling the forms using your new last name.
Proper Signing: Do you file joint tax returns with your spouse? Then ensure that both of you sign the return. If during the year your spouse passed away, you need to write “Surviving Spouse” on your spouse’s signature line after signing on the first line. Please note that there are exceptional conditions that apply when signing for a person under a Power of Attorney or non-spouse deceased taxpayer.
Preparer Must Sign: The Internal Revenue Service issues a “PTIN” form which has to be signed by professional tax preparers you hire to prepare your returns. Also, ensure that “Copy B” of all Forms W-2, W-2Gs and 1099-Rs that have tax withholdings attached. The IRS might be forced to return the forms to you if you attach the wrong copy.
Check Address: The IRS’s mailing addresses for returns are often changed and you must ensure that you mail your tax returns to their right address, usually determined by your residential state. The addresses can be found online at the IRS website or the instructions booklet. You are required to use a payment voucher (1040-V) if you have a balance due and then mail the return to a lock box as opposed to mailing them directly to the IRS.
Ensure the Check payable to “United States Treasury Service”: Taxpayers who owe the federal government must write their check to the Treasury and not the “IRS”. Ensure that the Social Security Number and Form 1040/1040A is written on the check.
Finally, make sure that you make and retain a copy of the tax returns for personal filing and record keeping. Don’t forget to weigh the package to ascertain that you have sufficient postage. It is very risky to send off your tax return without carefully reviewing every detail; take your time, as mistakes can be costly.