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Mistakes on tax returns mean they take longer to process, which in turn, may cause your refund to arrive later. Clergy Financial Resources cautions against these nine common errors so your refund is timely.

  1. Incorrect or missing Social Security Numbers When entering SSNs for anyone listed on your tax return, be sure to enter them exactly as they appear on the Social Security cards.
  2. Incorrect or misspelling of dependent’s last name When entering a dependent’s last name on your tax return, ensure they are entered exactly as they appear on their Social Security card.
  3. Filing status errors Make sure you choose the correct filing status for your situation. There are five filing statuses: Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household, and Qualifying Widow(er) With Dependent Child.
  4. Math errors When preparing paper returns, review all math for accuracy. Or file electronically.
  5. Computation errors Take your time. Many clergy make mistakes when figuring their taxable income, withholding and estimated tax payments, Earned Income Tax Credit, Standard Deduction for age 65 or over or blind, the taxable amount of Social Security benefits, and the Child and Dependent Care Credit.
  6. Incorrect bank account numbers for Direct Deposit If you are due a refund and requested direct deposit review the routing and account numbers for your financial institution.
  7. Forgetting to sign and date the return An unsigned tax return is like an unsigned check – it is invalid. And, remember on joint returns both taxpayers must sign the return.
  8. Incorrect Adjusted Gross Income information Taxpayers filing electronically must sign the return electronically using a Personal Identification Number. To verify their identity, taxpayers will be prompted to enter their AGI from their originally filed 2009 federal income tax return or their prior year PIN if they used one to file electronically last year. Taxpayers should not use an AGI amount from an amended return, Form 1040X, or a math error correction made by IRS.
  9. Claiming the Making Work Pay Tax Credit Clergy who file Form 1040 or 1040A will use Schedule M to figure the Making Work Pay Tax Credit. Completing Schedule M will help clergy to determine whether they have already received the full credit in their paycheck or are due more money as a result of the credit.
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Clergy Financial Resources serves as a resource for clients to help analyze the complexity of clergy tax law, church payroll & HR issues. Our professionals are committed to helping clients stay informed about tax news, developments and trends in various specialty areas.

This article is intended to provide readers with guidance in tax matters. The article does not constitute, and should not be treated as professional advice regarding the use of any particular tax technique. Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information. Clergy Financial Resources and the author do not assume responsibility for any individual’s reliance upon the information provided in the article. Readers should independently verify all information before applying it to a particular fact situation, and should independently determine the impact of any particular tax planning technique. If you are seeking legal advice, you are encouraged to consult an attorney.

For more information or if you need additional assistance, please use the contact information below.

Clergy Financial Resources
11214 86th Avenue N.
Maple Grove, MN 55369

Tel: (763) 425-8778 
Fax: (888) 876-5101
Email: clientservices@clergyfinancial.com