You should have your W2 form, 1099's, and bank statements in the mail by now.
So you know what that means: We've officially entered tax filing season.
Unfortunately, in our eagerness to complete our forms and get our refund a soon as possible, many of us make simple, sloppy mistakes.
2011 Changes Can Mean Mistakes
Watch out this year. Some deductions you were able to take in 2010 -- such as for energy efficiency or sales taxes on a new car -- are no longer deductible in 2011 (in a handful of states, like Florida, sales tax can still be deducted in lieu of income tax).
Meantime, many taxpayers continue to deduct things that never were deductible in the first place ....ever.
Things You Can't Deduct
- Deducting commuting costs are one of the top illegal deductions, according to AOL's consumer website Walletpop.com.
- Others include gambling losses that exceed your gambling winnings.
- Hobby expenses.
- Gym memberships.
- And most home repair.
Doesn't That Stink?
But from the "doesn't that stink" file, the fact that the the IRS makes it easy to make an error.
For instance: Gas.You can deduct the cost if your car is used for business, but not for driving to work: Confusing? Sure. Doesn't that stink?
Finally, the most common mistakes:
- Incorrect Social Security numbers.
- Claiming a child who is no longer longer eligible to be a dependent.
- And the number one mistake: Math errors.
Double Check Your Work
Bottom line, double check your work, even if using a program like turbo tax.... because if you enter a wrong number, and the irs catches it, its your fault.
And make sure you have all your documents in hand -- all of them -- before you file, so you don't waste your money.
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