Your Money, Your Future
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The costly tax mistakes most people make

Tax form 1040

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Filing faux pas

About half of the nation's taxpayers do their own taxes, but not necessarily well.

From choosing the wrong filing status to not itemizing, many filers leave about $400 on the table, on average, by not claiming all the credits and deductions they could take, according to a study by tax preparer H&R Block.

"The biggest mistakes today are mistakes of omission," said Mark Steber, Jackson Hewitt's chief tax officer. These often go unchecked by the IRS but are also the ones that will leave you shortchanged. "The IRS's primary job is to make sure that you paid all your taxes, not that you got all the benefits you are due," he added.

Some tax-prep software, like TurboTax, should alert you if you are making these tax mistakes, but if you haven't accounted for all of your expenses properly, it's your job alone to catch it before April 18. (The regular tax return filing deadline is April 15. However, due to the Washington D.C. Emancipation Day holiday being observed on April 15 instead of April 16, Tax Day is on the following Monday.)

Go ahead and get started. Here are a few of the most common pitfalls.

— By Jessica Dickler,
Posted 24 February 2016

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