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Local tax advisers discuss common mistakes to avoid when last mi - KOAM TV 7

Local tax advisers discuss common mistakes to avoid when last minute filing

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It's the eve of the looming April 15 tax filing deadline.

Local tax services have been busy all day, and an even bigger turnout of procrastinators is expected tomorrow.

Tax preparers offer some advice on common mistakes to avoid for those filing at the last minute.

"This year, I'm early," said Wayne Epperson, resident of Stella, MO.

Epperson is filing his taxes the day before the deadline, a day earlier than he filed last year.

"I always wait until the last minute it seems like," he said. "I put it off as long as possible."

Staff members at Vern Blood Tax Service in Joplin say they have seen a steady stream of procrastinators.

Some common last minute mistakes include overlooking income, such as a cancellation of debt, miscalculations, and forgetting to claim a child.

"It's amazing that they can actually forget a child, but they do," said Dody Walker, owner and tax preparer at Vern Blood Tax Service. "If a child has less than $3,000 to $5,000 income and they're still living at home, just because they turn 18 or graduated high school does not mean you cannot claim them. If they're a student, you can claim them until they're 24 years old."

Another common and detrimental mistake is entering the wrong social security number, which can create a significant delay.

"This year, there is a lot of fraud with social security numbers as well, so it's very important to have that correct," said Alicia Knell, tax preparer at Vern Blood Tax Service.

Living in the Four States also complicates the process, as tax rates often vary between states.

"If you work in one and you live in another, the state that you live in is going to give you credit for the tax you paid to where you work, but if their income tax rate is lower, you may end up actually owing in the state that you live in when you didn't even work there," Knell said.

Experts say filing for an extension should be a last resort.

"Sometimes there is a hardship in the family, health issues, things like that, that's what an extension is really for," Walker said.

As for last minute filers, they hope to pull it off, mistake-free.

"Just keep at it," Epperson said."You'll get it done."

For those who file with incorrect information, tax preparers estimate it could take until September or October to receive a refund.

Extension deadlines are Oct. 15 for individuals and Sept. 15 for corporations.
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