Second Chance: Amended Returns Allow You to Correct Filing Mistakes
By Christine Hall, Partner, Hall, Murphy & Schuyler, PC
What should you do if you already filed your federal tax return and then discover a mistake?
First of all, don’t worry. In most cases, all you have to do is file an amended tax return. But before you do that, here is what you should be aware of when filing an amended tax return.
Taxpayers should use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to file an amended (corrected) tax return. You must file the corrected tax return on paper. An amended return cannot be e-filed. If you need to file another schedule or form, don’t forget to attach it to the amended return.
An amended tax return should only be filed to correct errors or make changes to your original tax return. For example, you should amend your return if you need to change your filing status, or correct your income, deductions or credits.
You normally do not need to file an amended return to correct math errors because the IRS automatically makes those changes for you. Also, do not file an amended return because you forgot to attach tax forms, such as W-2s or schedules. The IRS normally will mail you a request asking for those.
Eligible taxpayers who filed a 2015 tax return and claimed a premium tax credit using incorrect information from either the federally facilitated or a state-based Health Insurance Marketplace, generally do not have to file an amended return regardless of the nature of the error, even if additional taxes would be owed. The IRS may contact you to ask for a copy of your corrected Form 1095-A to verify the information.
Nonetheless, you may choose to file an amended return because some taxpayers may find that it could reduce their tax owed or give them a larger refund.
If you are amending more than one tax return, prepare a separate 1040X for each return and mail them to the IRS in separate envelopes. Note the tax year of the return you are amending at the top of Form 1040X. You will find the appropriate IRS address to mail your return to in the Form 1040X instructions.
If you are filing an amended tax return to claim an additional refund, wait until you have received your original tax refund before filing Form 1040X. Amended returns take up to 16 weeks to process. You may cash your original refund check while waiting for the additional refund.
If you owe additional taxes with Form 1040X, file it and pay the tax as soon as possible to minimize interest and penalties. You can use IRS Direct Pay to pay your tax directly from your checking or savings account.
Generally, you must file Form 1040X within three years from the date you filed your original tax return or within two years of the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. For example, the last day for most people to file a 2013 claim for a refund is April 17, 2017. Special rules may apply to certain claims.
Hall, Murphy & Schuyler, PC is a full-service public accounting firm. They have a staff of experienced professionals that stand ready to meet all of your accounting, tax and general business needs. For a complimentary consultation, call 706-855-7733 or email at cmh@HMandScpas.com.