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Tax season is nearly here, which means it’s time to start looking at your annual paperwork as you start planning for the big day. It may help to remember these common mistakes as you start planning your 2015 taxes, as these are some of the most common mistakes made every year. Most of these common errors are very simple to fix and can help ensure that you’ll get your tax refund as quickly as possible. Here are five of the most common tax return errors.

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Typos

The most common error made on tax returns is simple typographical error. A wrong Social Security number, birthday or name can mean a long delay as you fix the error and wait for all the paperwork to process. Make sure you spell all the names of everyone on your tax return exactly as they appear on their Social Security cards. The same goes for birth dates and Social Security numbers —make sure everything is exact and you’ll find things go much faster.

Math Mistakes

As popular as e-filing programs are these days, there are still many people who file the old fashioned paper forms. Those are the easiest places to make mistakes with your math. If you still file manually, be sure to take the time to double-check your math, being extra careful to check when you move or skip line numbers on the forms. Or, just opt to use software instead, which will do all the math for you.

Direct Deposit Issues

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If you’re owed a refund, you’ll want to use direct deposit so your refund is received as fast as possible. However, you’ll want to make sure to enter your bank’s routing number and your bank account number accurately, or you’ll find a host of new issues. A small typo with your account could end up costing you your entire refund. Take the time to double and triple check these numbers. When you have your money safely deposited into your account, it will be worth the extra time.

Filing Status

There are five different filing status options when you fill out your tax returns. As simple as that may seem, there are lots of life changes that can make a big difference in your total year-end tax bill. The easiest way to ensure that you’re filling out the right filing status is to use the IRS’s online Interactive Tax Assistant. Or, if you’re using e-file software, it will do this calculation for you.

Charitable Contributions

If you make any type of charitable contribution throughout the year, you may be able to deduct that on your annual tax return. Pretty much all types of donations, from cash to clothing to automobiles, can be a valuable deduction on your return. Just be sure that the organization you are donating to is a tax-exempt organization with the IRS. You’ll also want to make sure to calculate the value of your donations as the fair market value of the item, or what a buyer would pay for it now, not what you paid for it when you purchased it originally.

Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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