When and How to Amend Your Federal Income Tax Return

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May 15, 2012 by msquaredlaw

You have submitted your income tax return and now you’ve discovered an error…. 

Perhaps you missed a credit or deduction for which you were eligible.  Perhaps you failed to include income reported on a Form 1099.  Don’t fret.  You can amend your return using IRS Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

What returns can I amend?  Form 1040X can be used to correct previously filed Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ.

How far back can I amend?  Generally, you must file Form 1040X within three years from the date you filed your original return or within two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.  Be sure to enter the year of the return you are amending at the top of Form 1040X.

When should I not amend?  Generally, you do not need to file an amended return to correct simple math errors because the IRS will automatically make that correction.   Also, do not file an amended return just because you forgot to attach tax forms such as W-2s or schedules.  The IRS normally will send a request asking for these items.

Can I e-file my amended return?   Nope.   An amended return cannot be e-filed.  You must file it by paper by mailing it in to the appropriate IRS office as listed in the instructions to Form 1040X.

What if I’m amending a few returns?  If you are amending more than one tax return, prepare a 1040X for each return and mail them in separate envelopes to the appropriate IRS office as listed in the Form 1040X instructions.

Do I have to attach schedules?  Yes.  If the changes involve another schedule or form, you must attach that schedule or form to the amended return.

What if I’m already entitled to a refund?  If you are filing an amended return to claim an additional refund, you should wait until you have received your original refund before filing Form 1040X.  This will avoid unnecessary delay and you may cash that check while waiting for any additional refund.

What if I owe additional tax?  If you owe additional 2011 tax, you should try to file Form 1040X and pay the tax before the due date (or as soon as possible) to limit interest and penalty charges that could accrue on your account.  Interest is charged on any tax not paid by the due date of the original return, without regard to extensions.

If you have any questions or would like assistance in filing an amended return, contact us.

Muiños & Morales


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