Special Report

19 Most Common Tax Mistakes

Because of the disruption caused by COVID-19, the IRS has extended the deadline for filing individual tax returns from April 15 to July 15. U.S. states have followed suit, with the majority moving their deadline to July 15 as well, and a few setting other dates later in the spring and summer. For many Americans stuck at home and struggling to keep their life in order, the deadline extension came as welcome news.

IRS audits are down compared to previous years. In fiscal 2019, the IRS audited less than 0.5% of individual tax returns. While that figure is much lower than in years past — it is about half of the rate in 2010 — there are some common mistakes that are more likely to prompt an audit or delay a return.

The IRS lists several common errors filers make each year on its website. The errors vary in complexity from failing to correctly calculate a deduction to simply failing to sign and date the return or using the wrong postage. While some of these mistakes seem obvious and easily avoidable, they are common enough that the IRS lists them as issues.

A great many of these errors can be avoided simply by filing electronically, as the vast majority of Americans now do. Even when e-filing, however, many of the mistakes the IRS lists remain common. Many of these can be lumped into the category of simply failing to fill in the right boxes or the correct figures or forgetting to include the various deductions, credits, and allowances. Avoiding these mistakes can help ensure getting your refund without much hassle. These are the states with the largest average tax refund.

These are 19 of the most common mistakes Americans make while filing their tax returns.

Click here to see the 19 most common tax mistakes

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