IRS offers tips to avoid mistakes on deadline day

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 18, 2011 9:29 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Still haven't finished that tax return on this Monday deadline for filing? Then you have time to take advantage of some tips from the friendly folks at the Internal Revenue Service to avoid errors.

The IRS advice on avoiding common mistakes includes:

-- Filing electronically. Because the e-file and IRS Free File software makes calculations, it flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information.

-- If doing a paper return, mail it to the right address. "Where to file" information can be found on the IRS site -- -- or in the printed instructions. Getting it right avoids delays in processing and can speed up delivery of refunds.

-- Attach forms like W-2s and others that show tax withholding, and other necessary forms and schedules, to the front of your return.

-- Check just one filing status and make sure you've checked the right exemption boxes.

-- Double check that you've entered the correct Social Security number or numbers and double check all figures. The IRS says math mistakes remain common on paper returns.

-- That double checking should also apply to the routing and account numbers for getting any refund directly deposited into your bank account.

-- Can't meet the deadline for filling out a return? Don't panic. You can request an extension by using Free File or Form 4868 and avoid late filing penalties. See the IRS site for more details. But remember the IRS still wants any taxes owed paid by the Monday deadline.

Meanwhile the IRS reports that as of early April around 99 million individual income tax returns had already been received, about the same as for the comparable period last year.

The number of refunds totaled about 81 million, up from 80 million the previous year, with the total value of the refunds at around $234 billion both years.

(Reporting by Jerry Norton; Editing by Barbara Goldberg)