5 Common Tax Season Conundrums—and How to Decipher Them


You had every intention of filing your tax return before 11:59 P.M. on April 15, and you were chugging along nicely to meet that goal—until you hit a roadblock.

Maybe you realized you never received a crucial document in the mail, or you misplaced some receipts necessary to back up that big write-off you were counting on.

Sound familiar?

If so, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone—or doomed to miss the deadline.

“Confusing tax-time problems are quite common,” says Andrew Poulos, an enrolled agent and principal with Poulos Accounting & Consulting, Inc., in Atlanta. “And while they may seem daunting at first, most issues can be easily fixed—if you know what steps to take.”

To help you navigate the season’s trickiest head scratchers, we’re laying out five common tax conundrums—plus Poulos’ quick tips for putting you back on track faster than you can cash your refund check.

Tax Conundrum #1: There’s a Mistake on Your W-2

Why It’s a Problem If your W-2—the federal form issued by your employer that indicates how much you’ve earned and paid in taxes for the year—reports the wrong amount of income, the I.R.S. could slap you with an inflated tax bill.

How to Fix It As soon as you realize there’s an error, immediately contact your employer and ask them to issue a corrected form. Typically, they’ll do so quickly, as it’s in their best interest to accurately report the full amount they’ve paid in taxes for each employee.

“But if they don’t, call the I.R.S. and file a complaint,” Poulos says, adding that it’ll then contact your employer asking for the correction on your behalf.

Unfortunately, this process can take several months, so you may need to file an extension—but the good news is that the I.R.S. will have records showing that you’re working toward a resolution.

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