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E-File and Avoid Tax Return Errors

  • Published
  • By Internal Revenue Service
  • Media Relations Office
Mistakes. Everyone makes them, but even a simple mistake on a federal tax return, can cause problems which might delay processing your return and mean you receive a notice from the IRS.

Last year, the most common mistakes made on all federal tax returns had to do with Social Security Numbers (or Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers) and math errors.

Paper tax returns are 20 times more likely to contain errors than those prepared electronically, and last year, many names and SSN/ITINs did not match Social Security Administration or IRS records, or were not included on the forms. The next most common errors on paper returns were mostly addition and subtraction problems, transferring the wrong information from one form to another, or using the wrong information from tax tables.

Other common errors included: not attaching required forms; claiming dependents who were listed on another person's return; problems claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Child Care Credit; claiming deductions that were not allowed; and using the wrong filing status.

The easiest way to avoid most of these errors is to prepare and file electronically because these programs check for errors and required information, and are 99 percent accurate. Last year more than 700,000 Kansas taxpayers e-filed, and using direct deposit, received their refunds in less than three weeks. Almost 90 percent of those taxpayers also e-filed their state tax returns.

Whether you use a professional tax preparer or do it yourself on a home computer, there are many reasons to consider e-filing your tax return this year. The IRS is again offering eligible taxpayers the opportunity to prepare and e-file their tax returns for free. For more information, go to the Free File Web page at

"Don't procrastinate," said IRS spokesman Michael Devine. "Resist the temptation to put off your taxes until the very last minute. Your rush to meet the filing deadline may cause you to overlook deductions and credits, and increase your risk of making an error."

For more information on e-filing, visit "1040 Central," at It is your one-stop shopping e-mall for all your filing season needs.