Filing your taxes: What you need to know

Tax forms
Tax forms / FOX21 News file photo

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Filing tax returns can be complex, but you’ll want to watch out for the common mistakes.

“Often times, they forget or they put down the wrong social security number. That’s a frequent mistake on paper filed taxes. On electronically filed taxes, you absolutely have to fill in the form, but you don’t necessarily have to fill it in right. So, you have to make sure that your social security number on the form for you and anyone that you’re claiming on your tax return is correct,” said Karen Connelly, Internal Revenue Services Spokesperson.

Math errors are also common, but whether you do it on your own or through someone else, the IRS wants to remind people that they are legally responsible for what’s on the paper.

“Everybody has a different tax filing situation, maybe you have a really complex one or maybe you have a simple one, whatever you’re most comfortable with,” Connelly said.

There’s some new things to look out for when filing your 2016 tax returns – such as delayed refunds for those claiming Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit.

That’s due to the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act, which requires those refunds to be held until February 15.

“The earliest you’re going to see either of those two is probably around February 27 in your bank account or on a debit card,” Connelly said.

Otherwise, 9 out of 10 taxpayers will receive their refund in 21 days or less through direct deposit.

“And this year, another thing that’s new is if you’re electronically filing for the first time with a tax software provider, you need to have last year’s adjusted gross income, or AGI. So, you want to have last year’s tax return available to you, whether that’s electronic format or paper format ’cause you’re going to need some numbers,” Connelly said.

This year, you have three extra days to file and pay any taxes due.

The regular April 15 deadline falls on a Saturday this year and the following Monday is a holiday in D.C., making this year’s deadline Tuesday, April 18.

The IRS says filing online is the most accurate, safest and easiest way to file.

If you earned $64,000 or less, you can check out IRS Free File, which will help guide you to a free online tax preparation software.

If you earned $54,000 or less and want face-to-face help, you can use Volunteer Income Tax Assistance.

The IRS recommends keeping your tax returns and supporting documents for a minimum of three years in case you get audited.

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