Gerald Winters, Esq., CPA
Can You Correct A Tax Return When You Realize There Has Been a Mistake?
You have compiled all the necessary documents, poured over a year’s worth of income and expenses, and managed to file your annual tax return on time. Even better, the Internal Revenue Service accepted it.
Although none of us want to consider it, what happens if there is a mistake? Maybe you received additional tax documents after you already filed the return, or perhaps your math was off and you provided your accountant with incorrect information.
Whatever the reason, did you know the IRS allows tax filers to correct errors, make changes or add additional information through an Amended Individual Income Tax Return, also known as the Form 1040X? This form can be found online or requested directly from the IRS. Depending on where your property is located, a state tax amendment might also need to be filed, if applicable.
The Form 1040X has three main columns:
- Column A: Enter required amounts from your original, accepted return.
- Column B: Include the total increase or decrease for the amounts you are changing.
- Column C: Write the corrected amounts.
There are places on the form where you can indicate which tax year you are amending. If changes lead to a refund, you will need to file the amendment within three years of the original tax return, or within two years from when you paid the taxes that year.
If you miss the appropriate windows, the government can keep your money. However, if your Form 1040X leads to owing more taxes than you originally paid, the IRS can also expect payment going back a minimum of 10 years.
Keep in mind that the IRS does not allow tax amendments to be filed online. Instead, you will need to mail a manually completed form along with any schedules or other forms that were changed in the process. It usually takes between eight to twelve weeks for tax amendments to be processed.
The status of an amended return can be monitored on the IRS website using its “Where’s My Amended Return” tool. Do not forget to keep detailed records of all your tax filings and amendments, whether in paper files or digitally.
When it comes to your taxes, nothing can substitute the knowledge of an accountant who knows what you are going through. Even though tax season is over, and even though you may have filed yourself, do not wait to schedule a meeting to talk to us about your concerns.