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Good news: The tax-filing deadline is actually April 18 this year. That means you have three extra days to comb through your W-2s and receipts. A reason to use that time wisely: Tax-filing mistakes happen to the best of us. That’s why we checked in with Priya Malani over at financial planning firm StashWealth to get the lowdown on the most common ones.

RELATED: 10 Confusing Tax Form Questions, Explained

tax filing office

You Decided Against Hiring a Pro

TurboTax can only take you so far. Say your company offers stock options or you went through a major life change (like an inheritance—or a divorce). Your filing is inherently more complicated. Sure, it may cost a little more, but if a tax pro can alert you to potential savings you wouldn’t have noticed yourself, you’ll still come out ahead.

tax filing receipts

And Didn't Take the Time to Organize Your Receipts

If you’re serious about maximizing your refund, first thing’s first: You’ve got to pull together all your receipts. For example: The airfare for that business trip to Houston you had to take but couldn’t expense. Or a record of that French class you enrolled in to improve your job prospects. Before you do anything else, make a checklist (or download one online) of the paperwork you’ll need to properly file, then work backward from there.

tax filing wedding

You Made a Clerical Error

Yay, you got married (and changed your last name) in 2016. Congrats. But don’t fall victim to one of the most common tax mistakes: Forgetting to put your new—legal—married name on the forms.

tax filing desk

And Forgot to Mention You Occasionally Work From Home

Freelancers, this means you. You’ll likely be eligible to deduct a portion of your rent as a business expense if you log a ton of side-hustle hours at home. Other freelance expenses you can write off partially or in full: cable, Internet, your laptop, your iPhone, work supplies. The trick is to always (always) keep meticulous track.

tax filing calculator

You Missed a Couple More No-Brainer Deductions

If you do anything on company time that’s for the company but isn’t reimbursed, it’s deductible. If you’re paying off student loans and your income is below a certain threshold (about $80K), the interest is deductible up to $2,500. The point: Take the time to familiarize yourself with all the write-offs so you maximize the value of the refund you get back.


Got more tax-related conundrums? PureWow is partnering with the personal finance experts at Yahoo to bring you an exclusive Facebook Live segment next week dedicated to all things Tax Day. Send your burning questions to Then, tune in to the PureWow Facebook page at 3pm on April 5 to hear them answered. 

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