Oops! Do I Need to File an Amended Return?

We all make mistakes. Even the most careful people can slip up when it comes to tax season. The forms are complicated, and sometimes you forget things. But what happens if you realize you made a mistake on your taxes after you’ve already filed your return? Don’t worry, you don’t have to hide under your desk and hope the IRS doesn’t notice. There’s a way to fix it – filing an amended tax return.

What is an amended tax return?

An amended tax return is like the “do-over” button for your taxes. It’s basically a corrected version of your original tax return, and you use it to fix any errors or change information. It’s officially called Form 1040-X.

Why would I need to file an amended tax return?

There are a few common reasons you might need to amend your tax return:

  • Math error(s). We all do it! Maybe you added your income wrong or calculated a deduction incorrectly.
  • You forgot to include important income. Let’s say you got a freelance gig last year and forgot to include that income on your tax return.
  • You want to change your filing status. Maybe you got married or divorced last year and need to update your tax records.
  • You missed out on some deductions or credits. Tax rules can be tricky. Maybe you overlooked a deduction you qualify for or a credit that can earn you a tax break.

Real-life example:

John filed his original tax return and thought he was all set. Then, he received a tax form in the mail for a summer job he had almost forgotten about. He realized he needed to include that additional income, so he filed an amended return.

How long do I have to file an amended tax return?

You generally have three years from the date you filed your original tax return or two years from when you paid the tax, whichever is later. That means if there’s an extra refund waiting for you, don’t delay in getting it!

Can I file an amended return electronically?

Yes! E-filing amended returns is an option for the most recent tax years.

Should I always file an amended return if I find an error?

Not always. The IRS understands that mistakes happen. There are some situations where you don’t need to go through the hassle of filing an amended return:

  • Math errors: Many times the IRS catches math errors and makes the adjustments for you.
  • Missing forms: If you forgot a form or schedule, the IRS will usually send you a letter requesting that additional information.

How can I tell if I need to amend my taxes?

The IRS has a handy tool called “Should I file an amended return?” on their website (https://www.irs.gov/help/ita/should-i-file-an-amended-return). It will ask you some questions to help you decide.

A Word of Caution

Filing an amended tax return can sometimes trigger closer scrutiny from the IRS. It’s best to avoid situations where you need to file these frequently. If you’re not sure if you need to amend, or if your tax situation is complex, consult with a CPA or tax professional for guidance. They can help minimize mistakes in the first place!

The Bottom Line

Mistakes happen when it comes to taxes. Don’t panic! Filing an amended return is a way to set things right. And if you aren’t sure about whether your situation warrants an amended return, we can help you figure things out and stay on the good side of the IRS. Call us at (614) 456-7222.

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