IRS Officials Recommend Double Checking Tax Returns Before Filing

The Internal Revenue Service encourages tax filers to carefully check their returns for errors before dropping them in the mail or submitting them electronically.

Common mistakes include missing or inaccurate Social Security numbers, incorrect bank account numbers and misspelled names. The IRS notes names must be listed on tax returns exactly as they appear on the individual’s Social Security card.

Some people claim the wrong filing status, such as Head of Household instead of Single. The Interactive Tax Assistant on can help taxpayers choose the correct status. E-file software also helps prevent mistakes.

The Interactive Tax Assistant can also help filers determine their eligibility for various tax credits and deductions.

Math errors are another common mistake. They range from simple addition and subtraction to more complex calculations. The IRS reminds filers to always double-check their math and reminds them that tax preparation software does calculations automatically.

All taxpayers listed on the form need to sign it before sending it in. Unsigned returns are not valid. E-filed returns should be signed electronically before sending them to the IRS.

When e-filing, the taxpayer signs and validates the tax return electronically with a prior-year Self-Select Personal Identification Number. Taxpayers who do not have or know their PIN should enter the Adjusted Gross Income from their 2015 tax return originally filed with the IRS. Taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return.

Taxpayers who are using a software product for the first time this year may need their Adjusted Gross Income amount from their prior-year return to verify their identity. Learn more about identity verification and electronic signatures at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return. Do not use the AGI amount from an amended return or a return that the IRS corrected.

The IRS also advises a tax return filed with an expired Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) will be processed and treated as timely filed, but will be processed without any exemptions or credits claimed. Taxpayers will receive a notice from the IRS explaining that an ITIN must be current before any refund is paid. Once the ITIN is renewed, exemptions and credits are processed and any allowed refund paid. ITIN expiration and renewal information is available on