Some taxpayers may need to amend their tax return
Posted on May 6, 2019
You clear your desk and find a misplaced 1099. You realize belatedly that you should have filed as ‘married but filing separately.’ Your tax attorney says you can’t actually claim that questionable deduction.
“It happens more than you might think,” says Mike Poynter, CPA at Teipen Selanders Poynter & Ayres. So if you discover an error after filing, you should ask your CPA as soon as possible about filing an amended tax return.
“Taxpayers should file an amended return if there’s a change in filing status, income, deductions or credits,” says Poynter. “The IRS often corrects mathematical or clerical errors on a return. They also may accept returns without certain required forms or schedules. In most of these instances, there’s no need to file an amended return.”
In other instances, the IRS will need to understand what changed in order to take the most appropriate action. So, to avoid penalties or other IRS action, talk to your CPA about amending your 2018 tax return.
Here’s what you should know:
- Simple mistake? You may be able to use the IRS.gov Interactive Tax Assistant. Go to Should I File an Amended Return? to find out if you should file an amended return to correct an error or make other changes to your original return.
- Amended returns may not be filed electronically. Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to correct your tax return on paper. Use the address listed in the form’s instructions unless your amended return is in response to an IRS notice. In that case, it should mail it to the address shown on the notice.
- What if you are due a refund, but made a mistake? Taxpayers who are due refunds from their original 2018 tax return should wait to get it before filing Form 1040X to claim an additional refund. Amended returns may take up to 16 weeks to process.
- What errors need to be addressed? Taxpayers should file an amended tax return to correct income, credit or deduction errors, omissions, or make changes (such as filing status) to an original tax return.
- No need to amend for math errors. Taxpayers generally don’t need to file an amended return to correct math errors on their original return. The IRS will automatically correct these.
- Don’t amend for missing forms. Taxpayers also don’t need to file an amended return if they forgot to attach tax forms. The IRS will mail a request to the taxpayer for missing forms.
It’s also important to file an amended return within the IRS established three-year time limit from the date you filed your original tax return — to file Form 1040X to claim a refund. Taxpayers can file it an amended return within two years from the date they paid the tax, if that date is later.
According to Mike Poynter, “Pay any additional tax owed as soon as possible. This is the best way to avoid potential penalties and interest on the unpaid taxes.” Consider using IRS Direct Pay to pay any tax directly from a checking or savings account — at no cost.