1997 Tax Help Archives  

Checklist of Common Errors When Preparing Your Tax Return

This is archived information that pertains only to the 1997 Tax Year. If you
are looking for information for the current tax year, go to the Tax Prep Help Area.

Before filing your return, review it to make sure it is complete and correct. The following checklist may help you avoid errors:

_____Did you use the peel-off label and enter any corrections?

_____If you do not have the label, or if there are too many corrections to the label did you clearly print your name, social security number, address, and zip code?

_____Did you enter the names and social security numbers for yourself, spouse, dependents, qualifying children for earned income credit, exactly as they appear on the social security cards? Be sure to contact the Social Security Administration if there have been any name changes.

_____Did you check only one filing status?

_____Did you check the appropriate exemption boxes and enter the names as they appear on the Social Security Card, of all dependents claimed? Did you list social security numbers for all dependents? Is the total number of exemptions entered?

_____Did you enter income, deductions, and credits on the correct lines? Are the totals correct?

_____If you show a loss amount on your return, did you put brackets around it?

_____If you are taking the standard deduction and you checked any box on line 18a or 18b of Form 1040A or line 33a or 33b of Form 1040, did you find the correct amount to enter on line 19 of Form 1040A and line 34 of Form 1040?

_____Did you figure the tax correctly and check the method used? If you used the tax tables, did you use the correct tax column for your filing status?

_____Did you indicate the amount of your overpayment you want applied to your l998 Estimated Tax? If you do not show how much you want applied, the full amount will be refunded to you.

_____Did you sign and date the return? If it is a joint return, did your spouse also sign and date?

_____Do you have a W-2 form from all of your employers and did you attach Copy B of each W-2 to your tax return? File only one return, even if you have more than one job. Combine the total wages from all Forms W-2 on one return.

_____Did you attach all other necessary schedules and forms in the proper sequence number order?

_____If you owe tax, did you enclose your payment with the return and include your social security number and tax year on the payment?

_____Did you make a copy of the signed return along with all schedules for your records?

A few of the more common errors are:

  1. The incorrect amount of tax is entered from the tax tables.
  2. A computation error is made in figuring the child and dependent care credit or the earned income credit.
  3. Income tax withholding and estimated tax payments are entered on the incorrect line.
  4. The incorrect social security number is entered.
  5. Income, deductions, or credits are added incorrectly.

It is important that you double check your arithmetic and your entire return because errors such as these may cause delay in receiving your refund.

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