Top three filing errors

Feb. 17, 2014 – TaxTalk Blog

Have you ever thought that numbers could be fun? For instance, here’s a riddle: what day is like a command? Why, that would be – wait for it – March fourth!

Speaking of having fun with numbers, we used to have a David Letterman-style Top 10 Filing Errors list that didn’t change much over the years.  But, taxpayers have found smarter ways to file in recent years, and we’ve been able to reduce our top-ten list to a list of three.

The main reason for our list reduction is electronic filing. Last year, a little more than 78 percent of Indiana filers used some type of electronic filing. Of those returns filed, 98 percent were accurate – they were error free!

But we still have paper filers, and up to 20 percent of those tax returns are inaccurate or have mistakes – meaning we still get to hang on to a top-three list for a little while longer.

So, without further adieu (drum roll, please), the top three filing errors are:

3. Math errors. Even with a calculator, it’s easy to miss a step, to add where we should have subtracted, or to transpose some numbers when writing them down.

2. Claiming more deductions and credits than one is entitled to. For example, $3,000 is the most you can claim as a renter’s deduction; anyone claiming more than that has made an error.

And, the number one filing error is:

1. Forgotten attachments! If you forget that W-2, or a Schedule 2 to support a renter’s deduction or a homeowner’s property tax deduction claim, we’ll have to send a letter requesting that information. So much for a quick refund!

So how does electronic filing reduce errors? Well, here’s another “top three” list:

3. Electronic filing pretty much eliminates math errors,
2. It ensures your deductions and credits are limited to the allowable amounts, and
1. It will make sure all necessary information is “attached” electronically.

If you haven’t gotten onto the electronic filing bandwagon yet, and breathing easier when you file that annual return, then here’s how to get started.  

  • You may be eligible to file your federal and state taxes online for free. Check out INfreefile for more information.
  • You may choose to use some kind of online tax preparation software and do it yourself.
  • You may choose to use a paid preparer.

Reducing errors benefits all of us – tax returns filed correctly the first time cost less to process, and refunds get issued quicker. So, we hope in the next few years the top 3 error list goes away, and we’ll have to find another way to have fun with numbers.

If you would like to submit a question or topic suggestions, please send them to
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook   Twitter