It happens to the best of us. You file your taxes with the IRS and are looking forward to receiving your tax return check. You are certain that all of your T's are crossed and all of your I's are dotted, but something went wrong and you hear back from the IRS that you need to correct some errors before they will be able to fully process your return. Now you will have to wait to buy that new appliance or hold off on the vacation you had planned. If you want to avoid that then it's important to be aware of some the most common mistakes that will cause your refund check to be delayed.
1) Your return was incomplete
You might have thought that every box was checked or filled in, but you missed something somewhere. Or, if you are filing by paper, you may have forgotten to include copies of your W-2 or 1099 forms. Whatever the case, it is important to check and then re-check that you have everything filled out and all of the necessary paperwork included. Thankfully, the IRS has a checklist that will help make sure all filers have everything they need to file their taxes.IRS Tax Return Checklist
2) Math or Computation Errors
These are the most common errors for individuals filing their taxes, especially so if you are doing your taxes by hand. These errors may also have real life consequences because it may reduce the amount that you receive or increase the amount that you owe, depending on the severity of the miscalculation. So if you are going to do your taxes by yourself then make sure you check and then recheck your numbers.
Errors in determining a variety of tax credits and calculating your deductions are also very common. If you are doing your taxes by yourself then it is important to understand what deductions or credits you are eligible to claim and the exact amount you can receive or deduct.
This also applies for your Social Security number. If the number you put on your taxes doesn't match the name in the Social Security database then your return can be delayed.
3) Misspelled or Non-Matching Names
If your W-2 says one name and your tax return says another then you can be sure that your return will be flagged. This is a common problem for newlyweds or divorcees who forgot to inform the Social Security Administration of their change in name. So make sure your names match before filing your returns because it will surely raise a red flag when the IRS receives it.
4) Incorrect Banking Information
If you are opting to receive your refund check via direct deposit then make sure your proper banking information is included in your paperwork. You wouldn't want someone else to receive your tax refund check, would you? The headache that this error would cause is definitely not worth it, so it's important to double check that your bank account number is correct before filing your taxes.
5) Filing at the Last Minute
This isn't necessarily a mistake, but it is one of the top reasons your tax return check might be delayed. The IRS routinely gets swamped with last minute tax returns, causing them to take much longer to process your return and send out your check. So if you are someone who wants to receive a check instead of direct deposit then be prepared to wait a little longer than you might be used to.
6) Blank Signature Box
You might laugh, but this is a very common mistake. The IRS will not process your return if there is no signature, so make sure that you add your John Hancock at the very end or you will be receiving a call from the IRS letting you know that they need your signature.