Avoid These Mistakes on Your Tax Return to Avoid Refund Delays

Delay written on sticky note on top of calculatorIf you’re expecting a tax refund, you likely want to see that money as soon as possible. Unfortunately, as tax season is drawing to a close, some delays are probable. However, there are some things you can do to minimize the likelihood of delays—primarily, avoiding common mistakes that will require further review with the IRS. Here are a few mistakes that are likely to occur this year. Double check all calculations and reported amounts in these areas to help you avoid delays with your refund.

Economic Impact Payments

Any time a new source of income arises in your life, there’s the chance of a mistake occurring when reporting it on your tax return. The last two years have introduced two new income sources to the vast majority of Americans, with stimulus checks—also known as economic impact payments—being the most widespread. If you received stimulus checks in 2021, it’s a good idea to double check the payments you received and ensure that you’re reporting the correct amount on your tax return.

Child Tax Credit Payments

The second new source of income Americans saw last year is actually a tax credit you see on your return every year. For 2021, the child tax credit was expanded to give parents more of a credit for each child and include 17-year-old children in the credit. But perhaps the biggest change is the fact that parents were able to see some of that credit in their accounts early, receiving advanced payments throughout the latter half of 2021 instead of receiving the full credit on their tax returns when they file.

Of course, this impacts how much of the credit you’ll receive on your tax return, so it’s important that you’re reporting your advanced payments correctly. The IRS is helping with that by sending out Letter 6419, which states the amount you received in child tax credit payments in 2021. You can compare this letter with your own records to check for any discrepancies. There have been some reports of IRS letters that show inaccurate totals; however, the IRS has stated that these inaccuracies are going to be few and far between, and mostly linked to people who switched bank accounts or moved during the year. That being said, if you do see an inaccurate amount on your Letter 6419, you should contact the IRS immediately.

If the amount you report for either the child tax credit payments or the economic impact payments does not match what the IRS has on file, this will require further review with the IRS’s personnel, which will inevitably cause a delay with your refund.

Simple Math Errors

If you’re filing electronically, it’s unlikely that you’ll file a return that has any simple miscalculations. Most electronic filing programs will automatically calculate totals based on information you input, or will at least double check your numbers for you. Of course, it’s always a good idea to double check the numbers you did put in yourself; that little bit of extra time may save you a major headache later.

And if you are filing on paper (which we don’t recommend, for additional reasons that we’ll discuss in a moment), you’ll need to double check all your own math. Simple math errors are more likely to occur on paper than they are on electronically filed tax returns. If there are miscalculations, it will require additional time and attention, delaying the process and your refund.

Filing on Paper

While this isn’t necessarily a “mistake,” it is certainly something that will delay your tax refund. Electronically filed tax returns are primarily processed via computer. An electronic system will process the return and check for any red flags (like those mentioned above) that need to be double checked by a human. If there are none, your tax return can be processed very quickly, and your refund will be sent out much sooner. If you file on paper, however, your tax return will go to the desk of an IRS employee. Those employees are currently handling a backlog of 2020 tax returns in the millions, and your return can get caught up in this pile, causing significant delays.

Requesting a Check

Again, requesting a check for your refund is a perfectly acceptable option—but it’s a slow one. Signing up for direct deposit of your tax refund will get it processed and sent to your account much more quickly. If you’re expecting a refund and want it quickly, sign up for direct deposit with the IRS.

The tax deadline is only two weeks away. If you want to get your return filed and your refund in your account as soon as possible, contact us today for fast electronic filing.