9 Tax Facts about Amending a Tax Return
Posted by William Byrnes on May 21, 2014
The IRS in Tax Tip 2014-51 alerted taxpayers to their ability to amend a tax return after it has already been filed with the IRS. By example, if a taxpayer discovers that a mistake was made on the return, such as a mis-statement of income or inadvertent inclusion or exclusion of a deduction, the taxpayer can correct the mistake by filing an amended tax return.
9 tax facts that a taxpayer should know about filing an amended tax return include:
1. Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to correct errors on a tax return. But the amended return must be filed on paper. Amended returns cannot be e-filed.
2. A taxpayer should file an amended tax return if there is an error claiming a filing status, income, deductions or credits on the original return.
3. However, a taxpayer normally will not need to file an amended return to correct simple math calculation errors on the return. The IRS computers will find those math errors and automatically make those changes. Such changes may effect the tax due or increase or decrease a refund. Also, a taxpayer does not to file an amended return because of a forgotten tax form attachment, such as a W-2 or schedule. The IRS will normally later send a request for those to be sent separately.
4. A taxpayer normally has 3 years from the filing date of the original tax return to amend the tax return to claim a refund by filing Form 1040X . A taxpayer may file the amended return within two years from the date of paying the tax due, if that date is later than the filing date of the tax return. Thus, generally the last day for most taxpayers to file a 2010 claim for a refund is April 15, 2014, unless a special exception applies.
5. If a taxpayer needs to amend more than one tax return, then a 1040X must be prepared for each year. Each 1040X form must be mailed in a separate envelope. Note the tax year being amended on the top of Form 1040X. Form 1040X’s instructions include the address where to mail the form.
6. If a taxpayer has other IRS forms or schedules that required changes, then attach them to the Form 1040X.
7. If a taxpayer is due an additional refund because of a potential amendment from the original return, then the taxpayer should wait to receive that first refund before filing Form 1040X to claim the additional refund. Amended returns require as much as 12 weeks to process.
8. If a taxpayer ends up owing more tax, then file the Form 1040X and pay the tax as soon as possible. This will reduce any interest and penalties on that amount owing.
9. An amended tax return can be tracked three weeks after it is filed with the IRS tool: ‘Where’s My Amended Return?’ or by phone at 866-464-2050. This tool can track the status of an amended return for the current year and up to three years back. The ‘Where’s My Amended Return?’ tool requires a taxpayer identification number, normally the Social Security number, and the date of birth and zip code.
Because of the constant changes to the tax law, taxpayers are currently facing many questions connected to important issues such as healthcare, home office use, capital gains, investments, and whether an individual is considered an employee or a contractor. Financial advisors are continually looking for updated tax information that can help them provide the right answers to the right people at the right time. For over 110 years, National Underwriter has provided fast, clear, and authoritative answers to financial advisors pressing questions, and it does so in the convenient, timesaving, Q&A format.
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