As we are nearing two months into tax season, the Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR) would like to share the top 10 mistakes it is seeing that cause individual income returns to reject or require additional review, leading to delays in processing.

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Filing your return by mail opens up the possibility of the following issues and more. Many of the mistakes can be avoided by e-filing a return. Filing electronically is easier, faster, more accurate and more secure than filing by paper.

1. Matching Filing Status: The filing status does not match the information provided in the rest of the return. If you are filing married separately or jointly, include spouse information in the same order as last year (if applicable), and retract it if you are filing single or head of household. Compute deductions and tax tables based on your filing status. 

2. Different Tax Year Forms: Attaching mix-matched individual income tax year forms and supporting documents with the front page of the current tax year form, along with crossing out the tax year and marking another tax year, is unacceptable. You must submit all the same individual income tax year forms together.

3. Missing Return Information: Sending incomplete returns makes it difficult, if not impossible, to process. A return must be completed in its entirety and with accuracy for ADOR to process, including essential items like full name, taxpayer identification number, address, and filing status.  

4. Error in Calculation: It is common to miscalculate amounts when doing taxes on your own. Fillable, calculating forms do the math for you and are scanned into our system for quicker processing.

5. Interpreting in Handwriting: ADOR does its best to decipher taxpayers’ handwriting, but it can be challenging. If filing a paper return, use fillable forms and print with black ink and on white paper; this way, ADOR staff does not have to interpret handwriting.

6. Mistake in Tax Credit Codes: Using an incorrect Qualifying Charity Code on Form 321, Public School CTDS Code on Form 322, or Qualifying Foster Care Charity Code on Form 352. Verify the charity codes and the school codes

7. Absent Tax Recapture Credit Form: Not completing and including Form 301 with the return and matching the information from Form 301 with the return. Be sure to include Form 301 and the corresponding credit form(s) for which you computed your credit(s) with your individual income tax return. 

8. Duplicate Returns and Payments: Duplicate returns cause ADOR to process another return, resulting in an informational return and delaying processing. Repeat payments result in being charged multiple times and likely are returned as a refund if no other liabilities exist. Do not send another check electronically if a payment has been mailed.

9. Check Information Not Present: Not completing all the information on the paper check; accurate address, pay to, amount, memo, signature. Ensure the paper check contains the written amount on the amount line and amount box, along with the tax identification numbers and tax period on the check memo line. When sending a payment, ensure it is sent with the original tax return or a payment voucher so it can be applied to the correct account and tax period promptly. If a payment is sent in without a corresponding tax return or payment voucher, ADOR must research which account it belongs to and the payment will likely be delayed.

10. Sending Items to the Correct Agency: Submitting an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) return, payment, or correspondence to the Arizona Department of Revenue will not be processed by ADOR. Instead, it will need to be forwarded. Make sure to send the ADOR payment with your state return to the correct ADOR P.O. Box and the IRS payment with your federal return sent to the IRS address. 

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