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Avoid these tax errors

April 15 is the deadline to file your 2012 tax return and the IRS says if you haven't filed yet, take your time because a mistake may delay your refund.

According to the IRS, the most common errors on tax returns are names and Social Security numbers that don't match.

"If you changed your name, tell the Social Security Administration before you file your tax return," said Karen Connelly, IRS spokesperson. "And parents need to obtain Social Security numbers for children in order to claim tax exemptions for them."

The next most common mistakes are math errors and using the wrong filing status.

"Make sure you choose which of the five filing statuses best fits your situation," said Connelly. "Your filing status is used to determine your filing requirements, standard deduction, eligibility for certain credits, and your correct tax."

About 80 percent of tax returns are e-filed so the software does the math, helps taxpayers avoid mistakes and claim all the credits they are eligible for. Connelly said as many as one in five eligible workers don't claim the Earned Income Tax Credit that can be worth as much as $5,891.

Connelly cautioned anyone preparing a paper return to review all arithmetic for accuracy, clearly print all information, attach a copy of Form W-2 from each of your employers and all other necessary schedules. Before putting a paper return in an envelope, make sure to sign and date it. Use the correct mailing address from the tax form instructions and use enough postage.

"If you're married, both spouses must sign a joint return," said Connelly. "An unsigned tax return is like an unsigned check - it's invalid."

Direct deposit will get your refund in your bank faster, but double check the financial institution routing and account numbers or it may be returned to the IRS.

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