Avoid Costly Mistakes by Checking Your Return

Hey, Chicago real estate friends: Have you done your taxes yet? Don’t fret: You’ve got two extra days to file this year.
Because April 15 falls on a Sunday and Emancipation Day falls on Monday, April 16, taxpayers have until Tuesday, April 17, 2012 to file their 2011 tax returns and pay any taxes due.
Emancipation Day is a holiday observed in the District of Columbia; according to federal law, District of Columbia holidays impact tax deadlines the same way federal holidays do, so taxpayers get the extra two days to file this year.
But even with the extra time, you should not wait until the last minute to get them done, and you should be sure to save time to double-check your work.
The Illinois CPA Society suggests reviewing these areas for common errors that could cause you problems later:
*Name: Does your name match your Social Security card? Your return could bounce back or your refund may be delayed if they don’t match. For women using a maiden name, don’t forget the hyphen if you use one and be sure dependents’ and spouse’s names are correct.
*Numbers: Make sure you put the right numbers in the right places and that your math is correct. Verify your Social Security number and be sure that you haven’t transposed any digits.
*Signature: Once you’ve completed all the work, make sure you remember to either physically sign the paper form or include an electronic signature on your e-file document. If you’re filing jointly, both parties must sign the return.
*Records: For all charitable donations you’re taking, make sure you can back them up with records, receipts, credit card statements, even an appraisal of a donated item.
*Change: This year, the IRS gave the gain/loss reporting form Schedule D a whole new look and a new supporting form – Form 8949 — to report gains and losses. Be sure that you have the right forms.
You can e-file your return 24 hours a day, any day of the week. E-filing can help you avoid some common mistakes since the program automatically checks that Social Security numbers and names match and corrects simple math errors.
If you’re not going to be able to file by the deadline, you can get a six-month extension by using Form 4868 at irs.gov.
Any CPA can help you with all your tax filing questions. Visit the Illinois CPA Society site – icpas.org – for more information and to find a CPA in your area using the “Find a CPA” Directory.