When Should I Amend My Tax Return?

August 19, 2019

 You are sorting through a pile of mail. You see an envelope that reads “2018 tax document.” You are now frozen with fear because you already filed your 2018 tax return. As you open the envelope, you realize that the letter is actually a form 1099-MISC that you did not include on your tax return. You begin an internal debate: Should I amend my tax return, or should I just ignore the 1099-MISC?

 

It is not uncommon to forget something on your tax return. However, if it amounts to a major mistake, you may need to file an amended tax return. Common situations that require amending your tax return include: claiming the incorrect filing status; mistakenly omitting income; and errors in credits and/or deductions. If you choose to roll the dice and not amend your tax return, you may be faced with penalties and interest once the IRS discovers the mistake. To avoid the assessment of possible interest and penalties, it is wise to file an amended return once you discover the mistake.

 

To amend your tax return you will need to file form 1040X. This form reports the numbers as originally filed and the new numbers. It shows a comparison of the two and also lists the difference between the two numbers. It is also wise to include a corrected copy of form 1040 with form 1040X.

 

Moreover, form 1040X cannot be electronically filed. You must physically mail the return. If the original return showed a refund and you are claiming an additional refund on form 1040X, it is wise to wait until you receive your refund before filing the amended return. Also, if possible, do not spend the initial refund until the amended tax return has been accepted.

 

If you think you need to file an amended return, the IRS has an interactive tool on its website (https://www.irs.gov/help/ita/should-i-file-an-amended-return) to help you make the determination. Please contact a tax professional if you need to amend your tax return.

 

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