April 15th is finally upon us and we wanted to see what exactly those newly filing know about one of life’s most certain events—taxes. So, we took to the streets.
Most of the folks Fusion spoke to knew when tax day was, but not much more.
What are the top five biggest tax errors? Sandra Block Senior Associate Editor, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance broke it down:
1) They don’t have to pay someone to do their taxes. There are lots of resources, go to IRS.gov and look under free file and you can file your taxes for free there. H&R block, Turbo Tax and others offer free federal tax filing for people with simple returns. So don’t pay somebody a lot of money to do your taxes.
2) Don’t make some common mistakes: math errors, entering the wrong Social Security number or wrong direct deposit information, which could cause your refund to go somewhere else—and the IRS won’t help you get that money back.
3) If you’re really not ready, file an extension and give yourself six more months to file your taxes.
4) If you had taxes taken out of your paycheck, file a return—even if you didn’t make much money. You could get money back!
5) Paying off student loans? Take advantage of a deduction that allows borrowers to deduct up to $2,500 in interest payments, which could reduce and possibly eliminate taxes owed. Parents payed off those loans? They can claim the deduction, too.
We wondered, why isn’t this stuff taught in schools? According to Block, schools claim they have too much to teach and not enough time.
“I think that if you talk to administrators of high schools and colleges they say we are trying to do so many other things that we don’t have the time or the money to do this. And they also may be thinking that this is a job for the parents,” Block said.
Produced by Geneva Sands, Edited by Pat O’Gara and Geneva Sands