Filing an amended tax return doesn’t have to be a pain.
You did it. You hit the tax deadline without a second to spare. You clicked the “submit” button on your tax software, stashed your tax documents, and went about your business.
A short time later, you realize you forgot to claim an exemption or additional income. Will you have sufficient time to file an amended tax return before the IRS takes notice?
Here’s the good news: your tax return won’t be flagged for an audit or you won’t be dealing with the IRS correspondence. Taxpayers have up the three years to file an amended return.
Here are the circumstances that call for filing an amended tax return:
- Change in the number of dependents you can rightfully claim on your return, or forgetting to claim a dependent.
- Change in your filing status
- Forgetting to claim an exemption
- Forgetting to claim all sources of income
On the other hand, you won’t need to file an amended return if there are simple math errors or if you forgot to include your W2 or 1099 forms. The IRS will automatically correct any math errors and they already have your W2 and 1099 information from your employer(s).
The forms you’ll need
You’ll need to use the 1040X form to file your amended federal return. Since each state’s amended form is different, you can access that information through your state’s tax board website.
You won’t need to file a whole new return. Just note the areas of correction on your 1040X and your state form, and the IRS and tax board will review the corrections and make the necessary adjustments.
The key is to file an amended return as soon as possible; you’ll want to claim the full refund to which you’re entitled, or have the updated figure for the taxes you’ll owe.
Unlike your primary return, you can’t electronically file an amended return since “e-filed” returns aren’t accepted by the IRS and/or state tax boards. Be sure to send the amended return certified mail, so you can verify the IRS and state tax board received it.
Major life changes such as divorce, death of a spouse or change in family size warrant filing an amended tax return. Although you have up to three years to file an amended return, it’s best to do it quickly.
You’ll have peace of mind knowing the matter is taken care of and the IRS and state tax board have all the updated information they need.
As with any tax matter, always check with a licensed tax professional regarding your individual tax scenario.