6. Neglecting a form. The more complicated your financial situation, the more forms you may need to submit. “Sometimes people are supposed to include another form, like an extra Schedule C for people who are self-employed, and it just isn’t there,” Klein says. You can find the basic forms on the IRS website, as well as a handy checklist that outlines some of the forms you might need.
The IRS says that it “may accept returns with certain forms or schedules left out,” and will reach out and request a missing W-2 or schedule. So an amendment most likely isn’t needed … but who wants a letter from the IRS?
7. Forgetting to include life events. Did you buy a house this year? Get married? Have a baby? Congratulations! Now, make sure to share the joy on your tax return. “Even for people using software programs, you need to remember to input key events,” cautions Klein. “Technology won’t realize that on last year’s return, you had two kids, and this year you forgot to add your third.”
How do you keep from tripping up — and potentially paying up? According to Klein, there’s nothing better than a second pair of eyes. “The reality is that there’s always a benefit to having someone take a second look at your return, whether that’s a husband filling it out and a wife checking his work, running it through a tax-prep program, or seeing your CPA. Even really good CPAs use software to double-check their work.”
While filing an amendment isn’t the end of the world, Klein says, you don’t want to give the IRS another reason to comb through your return. “Any time you open up a can of worms, you never know what might happen,” he reminds us. “But if everything’s on the up and up, it will all work out well.”