Common income tax filing errors
The best way to avoid errors on your income tax return is to thoroughly review your return before you submit it. Errors will increase the processing time and can significantly delay your refund.
What to look for when preparing your return
We want you to claim all the credits and deductions you’re entitled to. But if you claim a dependent you are not eligible to claim, or report income or deductions you cannot support with documentation, it can delay the processing of your return. Use the following resources to ensure that you can claim the dependents you list, and that you keep records to support the income and deductions you report.
- Claiming a dependent: Use the IRS’ interactive tool Who can I claim as a dependent? to help you determine whether you can claim your dependent on your income tax return.
- Earned income tax credit: If you're self-employed and claiming the credit, you must maintain business records throughout the year to support your earned income and expenses. To learn more, see DTF-215, Recordkeeping Suggestions for Self-employed Persons (en Español).
- Child and dependent care credit: If you're claiming the credit, you must maintain records that prove you paid child care expenses, such as canceled checks or money orders. To learn more, see DTF-216, Recordkeeping Suggestions for Child Care Expenses (en Español).
What to look for when reviewing your return
Look for the most common filing errors when you review your return. These include:
- failing to enter whole dollar amounts;
- using brackets to show a loss (you should place a minus sign immediately to the left of the amount);
- entering withholding and estimated tax on the wrong lines;
- incorrectly entering Social Security or identification numbers (if the identification number on your Form W-2 is wrong, contact your employer to obtain a corrected form);
- forgetting to enter Social Security or identification numbers (if the identification number on your Form W-2 is wrong, contact your employer to obtain a corrected form);
- using incorrect postage on your envelope;
- failing to indicate if you maintained living quarters in New York City;
- failing to include the total amount of tax withheld during the year;
- failing to include New York City and Yonkers tax, if applicable;
- failing to report the income information on every Form W-2 you received for the year (if you had multiple employers, you probably received multiple W-2s); and
- entering an incorrect mailing address.
View our video Avoid common income tax filing errors to learn more.
What to do if you receive a letter after filing
If you receive a letter from us asking for additional information:
- Send a copy of all of the W-2 forms for every employer you worked for during the tax year with your response.
- Send a copy of all the 1099s you received during the year with your response.
- See Respond to your letter and follow the steps outlined to ensure you include all the appropriate information in your response.
- If you’re able, respond to your letter online using our Respond to Department Notice online service.
- Filing tips
- Answer Center
- Income tax forms (and instructions)
- Visit the IRS to: