Editor’s Note: This article is part of our 2012 Tax Tips series. Robert Flach is an expert with almost 40 years of experience as a tax professional and also blogs as The Wandering Tax Pro.
NEW YORK (MainStreet) - Before mailing your finished tax returns to the state and federal government, it’s very important to review them carefully – regardless of who actually prepared the returns. If you, or your tax preparer, are submitting your returns electronically, review hard copies before sending them on their way along the information highway.
Even if your return was completed by a paid preparer you are legally responsible for all the information on the return.
If you discover something on a return you paid to have prepared that you do not understand contact your preparer immediately. But remember, just because you do not understand something does not mean that there is an error.
Here is what to do before putting your tax return in the mail:
Double check all Social Security numbers entered on all pages of your returns. An incorrect number will hold up your refund. If you changed your name during the year due to marriage or divorce you should notify the Social Security Administration and receive a new Social Security card before filing a return with the new last name.
Sign your return in the proper place. If you are filing a joint tax return with a spouse, both of you must sign. If your spouse passed away during the year, sign on the first line and write “Surviving Spouse” on the line for the spouse’s signature. Special rules apply if you are signing the return for a non-spouse deceased taxpayer or for someone else under a Power of Attorney.
Make sure the preparer signs the return. If you paid a professional to prepare your returns, then you’ll need his/her signature and “PTIN” issued by the Internal Revenue Service.