What you need to know:
- Mistakes are far more common when returns are filed using paper. That’s why the SCDOR and the IRS recommend filing online.
- Don’t claim the EITC on your SC return if you didn’t claim it on your federal return, and don’t claim the Two Wage Earner Credit unless your filing status is Married Filing Jointly.
- Be accurate! Both the IRS and the SCDOR find some mistakes come from a failure to be careful when inputting numbers and names, especially when entering information that is on official forms and can be cross checked by the tax agency.
Mistakes can be a hassle. That’s especially true during tax season, when errors can delay a refund or turn that expected refund into a tax bill.
That’s why the South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) wants to share 10 common mistakes we often find when processing Individual Income Tax returns. Make sure you avoid these pitfalls, so that your 2023 return is mistake free:
- Using paper returns and doing the math yourself – According to the IRS, the error rate for paper returns is about 21% , compared to less than 1% for electronically-filed returns. Filing online is not only faster, but also more accurate since your filing software does all the math, and automatic checkpoints ensure the return is complete before it’s filed.
- Filing without the proper forms – Some taxpayers are tempted to file using pay stubs or without their W-2 and 1099 forms. But those forms are needed for you to accurately report the right income.
- Entering information inaccurately – Even if you file online, you’re required to input a significant amount of information from official records, including W-2 forms and driver’s licenses. Double check that all of the info you’ve entered is correct before filing.
- Not reading the requirements before attempting to claim a tax credit or deduction – Don’t claim the Earned Income Tax Credit on your state return if you didn’t claim it on your federal return. Don’t try to claim the Two Wage Earner Credit if your filing status is not Married Filing Jointly. Don’t claim South Carolina withholding paid to another state.
- Not researching credits and deductions to see if you can claim any – Don’t leave money on the table! If you are eligible for a credit or deduction, take it. But read the requirements beforehand and be sure you have records to support your claim.
- Being inexact with spelling and numbers – Spell your name exactly as it is printed on your Social Security card. Enter your SSN correctly. Both mistakes can delay processing and hold up your refund.
- Using incorrect bank account numbers – If you enter the incorrect bank account or routing number, your refund will automatically be sent as a paper check, even if you chose direct deposit.
- Not updating your address – Using an address not in the SCDOR’s official records can cause your return to enter the SCDOR’s fraud detection process, which slows down return processing. Plus, if you’re receiving a paper check refund, you want to make sure it’s going to the right address. Customers with a MyDORWAY account can use the SCDOR’s free online tax portal to quickly update their address. Others can use the SC8822I.
- Leaving forms unsigned – This is not only a common mistake but one that should be easy to spot. Unsigned forms are invalid and cause processing delays. Even if you file online, you must digitally sign your return. If you file jointly, both you and your spouse must sign.
- Sending the SCDOR additional copies of your return – If you file online, that’s all you need to do. Sending us paper copies of what you filed online is unnecessary and could delay processing.
Remember – 2023 returns are due Monday, April 15, 2024.
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