Tax Time Tips: Avoiding Mistakes

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There are just a few days left until tax day, and while some people finished months ago, many others are scrambling trying to get their taxes done in a hurry.

Tax professionals see it all the time; they say the most common mistakes are leaving off attachments, under reporting income and leaving off deductions.

Janice Caluda says she's very careful when filing her taxes. A couple years ago she made a very costly mistake.

"It was just an item I left out, and it made me much more wearing about doing it in the future," she said.

The Internal Revenue Service sees millions of mistakes every year. Tax service offices are bustling with customers right now trying to help taxpayers file, and help them do so without making errors.

Carroll adds, "The most is missed deductions now; we do have people that file the incorrect filing status that we find that they don't always take advantage of all the deductions they're entitled to and under reporting their income," said Chris Carroll, who is the office manager at the H&R Block on North Monroe.

Because April 15 falls on a weekend this year, taxpayers have two extra days to file. Carroll says that's just one of the changes to be aware of.

"Instead of a first extension for three months, a second extension for three months, now you get automatic six months and also the other thing that's new is the victims of Katrina. If you housed any victims that were displaced you get a credit for that."

Another item that's new is the definition of a qualifying child. In the past, unmarried parents could split their child's tax credit. Now in order for that to count the parents must be married or officially divorced.

Tax professionals remind taxpayers about the simple things too like making sure the filers name matches the name on the Social Security card.

It seems obvious, but if a woman gets married and forgets to change her name on her card, she'll need to file with her maiden name.

Also important for Florida residents is filing deductions for property damaged in natural disasters.