L ast year, more than 128 million Americans opted to file their taxes online. In today’s fast-paced world, most taxpayers appreciate the opportunity to use the Internet to file taxes quickly and without the expense of a professional accountant. Filing online or through software like TurboTax offers a lot of advantages. It’s usually the cheapest route for small businesses and it offers faster access to your refund money if you choose to receive the cash via direct deposit to your bank. Of course, electronic filing isn’t fool proof and some Americans have reported an increase in tax related problems after using this method. Let’s take a look at some of the most common problems and how you can avoid them when you file your taxes this year.
Did you get married or divorced this year? Did you change your legal name? If your employer is using your new name on your W-9’s, make sure you have also changed your name at the social security office before you try to file electronically. If you do not make these changes with the social security administration you may find that your taxes will be rejected. When you file electronically, the IRS system will automatically check to see if the social security number matches the name that is currently on record with the social security administration. If the name on your return doesn’t match the official records, your return could be rejected.
Another common problem is inaccuracies in employer identification numbers. It’s usually an accidental error where two numbers are reversed, but this tiny typo could cause your return to be rejected. If you are notified that your return was rejected, go back and check all the numbers to make sure everything is accurate and the try to file the return again.
When you file online, you might be asked to provide the previous year’s adjusted gross income. This information is oftentimes used to verify your electronic signature. If you do not have this information on hand, you can’t complete the return online and will have to start over and file a paper return and mail it through the postal system. That means it will take longer to process and you will end up waiting longer to receive your refund check in the mail.
One of the most troublesome problems that you could face with electronic filing is identity theft. Never file taxes online if you are using a public computer or if you don’t have a secure connection. Spring is a prime time for internet hackers and scam artists to try to launch new phishing schemes to steal social security numbers and banking information. Be extremely caution when you e-file your taxes to be sure you are using a legitimate website that is safe from phishing and hackers.
If at any point in the process you encounter IRS tax problems and need professional help, contact a tax attorney. These professionals have the legal expertise to represent you and insure that you have a positive outcome when dealing with aggressive IRS agents.