Waiting until the 11th hour to file your tax return suggests your main goal is just to make sure it gets done on time.
But if you slip up, it may be simply a case of hurry up and wait — for your refund. The Internal Revenue Service says a mistake can make your return take longer to process, which may delay any refund.
Here are eight common errors and the IRS' comments about how to avoid them:
When entering SSNs for anyone listed on your tax return, be sure to enter them exactly as they appear on the Social Security cards.
When entering a dependent's last name on your return, make sure to enter it exactly as it appears on his or her Social Security card.
Choose the correct filing status for your situation. There are five filing statuses: Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household and Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child. See Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information, to determine the filing status that best fits your situation.
When preparing paper returns, review all math for accuracy. Or file electronically; the software does the math for you.
Take your time. Many taxpayers make mistakes when figuring their taxable income, withholding and estimated tax payments, Earned Income Tax Credit, Standard Deduction for age 65 or over or blind, the taxable amount of Social Security benefits and the Child and Dependent Care Credit.
Double-check your bank routing and account numbers if you are using direct deposit for your refund.
An unsigned tax return is like an unsigned check — it is invalid. Also, both spouses must sign a joint return.
If you file electronically, you must sign the return electronically using a Personal Identification Number. To verify your identity, the software will prompt you to enter your AGI from your 2010 federal income tax return or last year's PIN if you e-filed. Taxpayers should not use an AGI amount from an amended return, Form 1040X, or a math-error correction made by the IRS.