Before You Send Off Your Tax Return, Run It Through This Checklist

If you’ve got a tax refund coming and are eager to file your return to get the money flowing, your haste may end up causing errors that could hold things up. You should give your tax return a once-over before you send it off to make sure you haven’t screwed up some key areas.

Twenties Hacker provides a checklist of sorts to help you make sure things are set straight. Here are some items to inspect:

* Your name. Use your legal name as it appears on your Social Security card, not a shortened version or a nickname that you go by. It seems simple, but it’s easy to fumble, especially if you’ve recently married and changed your last name.

* Your Social Security number. You’ve committed it to memory since high school and have used it an untold amount of times, so you may take it for granted and neglect to make sure you jotted or typed it correctly onto your form.

* Your filing status. Big life changes — including marriage, divorce and becoming financially independent from your parents — will cause you to change your status rather than stick with what you’ve always used before. A blunder here can make for a major swing in money you owe or have coming.

File Your Taxes Faster By Avoiding These Common Tax Errors [Twenties Hacker]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Cat says:

    Tax Act does all this for me. FREE.

    • Costner says:

      Please explain how Tax Act verifies your SSN and legal name. Also explain how they verify that you didn’t get married or divorced in the past year. That would be pretty amazing…. do they hack the Social Security database and cross reference your name to be sure your SSN is correct and then tap in to state records to search for marriage and divorce records? If so I’ll start using them next year because they are obviously smarter than I am.


      • PHRoG says:

        It specifically asks those same questions, so you don’t forget to change them…and it’s not an Intuit product. So yeah, they rock.

      • Cat says:

        Well, since I use it every year, it remembers me. And the paid version also asks me about things like getting married.

        If you managed to forget that you got married, divorced, or had a kid in the past year, you’re pretty much a moron anyway.

        • Costner says:

          I agree. But the point is you still had to know this information the first time. TurboTax also remembers from year to year, but a human still needs to enter the data the first time.

        • tehbob says:

          while true this does not mean that you should not double check the information before clicking to e-file.

          I trust the company i do my taxes through too, but that does not mean you should just take it for granted that everything is correct….computer glitches and such do happen.

      • Shouhdes says:

        Dead people are smarter than you are apparently.


  2. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    I’ve still got another whole month. Don’t rush me.

  3. Costner says:

    Did my taxes already… and oddly enough I didn’t even need to be reminded to use my actual flippin’ name and SSN. I managed to figure all of these vital details out on my very own with no assistance from anyone else.

    Honestly – if people are too stupid to use their actual name or verify their filing status, they probably should not be doing their own taxes.

    • Gregory says:

      Or just use the pre-printed label that comes on the booklet from the IRS.

      But anymore, I use one of the popular free online programs. Creepy at first, but it helps a lot and finds many things that I used to miss doing it on paper.

    • El_Fez says:

      To be fair, I did exactly that when I did the Turbotax last month. I stupidly fat-fingered my social security number, inputting “123-55-6789” instead of “123-45-6789” and sent it off. Fortunately it bounced and came back in pretty short order so all was good.

      So don’t scorn too hard – mistakes happen.

  4. Cat says:

    While we’re on the subject of taxes, has anyone else not received a 1098-E for their student loan interest from those fuck ups that took over the fed. student loans last year?

    • josephbloseph says:

      I don’t recall if I got one, or if I just printed one out from the hyperinterwebernetspace. Either way, I got my refund yesterday.

    • Bsamm09 says:


    • sponica says:

      oh you mean the morons who STILL haven’t renewed my IBR despite the fact I submitted my tax info….

    • Pinklette says:

      I got the same information on my account website. Have you tried checking there?

      (But no. I never got a paper form sent to me.)

    • AcctbyDay says:

      Yes, I had to get it online. They don’t mail it.

    • Bremma says:

      Yeah, I haven’t seen my paper version of it yet either. I did grab the PDF of the form off of the site to do my taxes, but I am a bit concerned that the paper copy is not in yet.

    • castlecraver says:

      Yeah, had to download it, but it’s there and appears accurate. Not sure if they’re sending out paper ones (kinda doubt it).

    • psm321 says:

      Me. I figured maybe I’d missed it in the mail or something. The actual Fed. servicer was a lot more competent than the private company they outsourced to last year.

  5. Misha says:

    If you are filing a paper return, REMEMBER TO SIGN IT.

    Forgot one year. No crisis, just a delay, and the panic of coming home to scary-looking mail from the IRS.

    • huadpe says:

      Oh, I remember that panic. Like the time I ordered a stack of Forms 1099-MISC from them, and then forgot I’d ordered them, and then came home to a giant envelope from the IRS and had a 3 min freakout before I opened the thing and was able to breathe again.

  6. Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

    …& if your a truly good Consumerist, you would have done them by now & received your federal & state refunds, direct deposited to your back acct.

    • rekoil says:

      …unless you happened to buy or sell stock in December 2011 – if so, your brokerage wouldn’t have sent you your 1099s until yesterday.

      I filed this morning.

    • ToddMU03 says:

      Or some state you’ve never lived in decides to put a $533 lien on your taxes and swipes part of your refund despite proof that you don’t owe that state anything. A curse on the entire state of Tennessee.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      Bzzzzt. If you were a truly good consumerist, you would owe $1 less than the level that would incur a penalty (i.e. no free loan to the IRS), and would be filing electronically on the deadline.

  7. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    Let’s see.

    1. Quart of blood? Check.
    2. Pound of flesh? Check
    3. Vial of tears? Check
    4. First born? Check
    5. Youngest daughter? Check

    Yeah. I guess that’ll do it.

  8. Extended-Warranty says:

    If you need tips to remember your name, social security number, and filing status, let someone else do your taxes. You are going to miss out on some serious money.

  9. goldenargo85 says:

    Where is Tax Cat??

  10. u1itn0w2day says:

    Don’t forget to write this check is for you government beaurucrat. Share the wealth.

    Amended returns are a pain.

  11. sir_eccles says:

    Pfft taxes, I did mine over a year ago! – Homer J Simpson

  12. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    How about I do my taxes under my legal STAGE name, Ethan Tremblay?

  13. rockelscorcho says:

    I owe. They can wait.

  14. Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

    Taking tax advice from a site called ‘Twenties Hacker’…OMG
    The person writing the article on the site is a certified bookkeeper….great!
    I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night…

  15. axhandler1 says:

    Just remember that after you have all your info in the return, try rerunning it under each different filing status. Whichever gives you the biggest refund is the one you want to go with.


    In all seriousness though, filing status is an important decision to make if you are married and have a child who could file as a dependent on your 1040 OR could file a separate 1040. If that is your case, you should remember to do the return both ways, with the child as your dependent and the child as their own taxpayer. Then compare the results. Even though your refund may be less if your child files seperately, the total refund amount of your and your child’s refund could be higher than the refund on your 1040 if you took them as a dependent.

  16. kuhjäger says:

    Here is a tip. Make sure your sister didn’t somehow file taxes using your SSN for a job she worked for the Feds (census taker) using your SSN.

    It took me a year and 5 checks in my sister’s name to get it sorted out.

  17. framitz says:

    A couple of years ago I totally forgot to report part of my income… double check for that if you have more than one source. Tax software would not likely catch this type of expensive error.

    IRS caught me two years later. I’m almost paid up now, but that was a stupid mistake, I should have questioned why the refund was so large.

  18. energynotsaved says:

    Last year I wrote the chec to the IRS, but didn’t transfer from the saving to saving. IRS doesn’t like bounced checks….