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Tax Do-Overs: Filing an Amended Return

Tax Do-Overs: Filing an Amended Return - TaxACT

It happens. Just when you think tax season is over and you can forget it, you discover a mistake or omission on your income tax return.

You probably need to fix it by filing an amended return with the IRS.

When to file an amended return

You should file an amended return whenever you discover an error on your return that changes your tax liability for more than a minor amount, or that may cause a problem further down the road.

For example, you should file an amended return if you discover:

  • A substantial noncash contribution
  • Additional business deductions
  • Income, such as unemployment benefits, that you didn’t know you should report
  • A corrected form from your employer, financial institution, or a partnership
  • An incorrect social security number for yourself, your spouse, or a dependent

When not to bother amending your return

Don’t bother filing an amended return for items that don’t make a significant difference.

For example, if you find a $5 charitable contribution receipt, it’s not worth your time to file again. In some cases, for example if you don’t owe any tax, additional income or deductions may not change your tax liability at all.

If you calculated your return by hand, and you later discover a minor math error, the IRS will fix it for you. You don’t need to do anything.

How to file an amended return

Filing an amended return may be easier than you think. You don’t have to start over.

Instead of fixing your return or filing a new one, you file Form 1040X to change items on the return.

Page 1 of Form 1040X shows three columns for the major amounts from your tax return: Original amount or as previously adjusted; Net change – amount of increase or decrease; and Correct amount.

You must attach corrected schedules to Form 1040X as necessary.

To file Form 1040X in TaxACT, click Amend Federal Return under the main Filing tab.

You cannot efile an amended return. You must print it out and file it by mail.

Don’t forget your state return

A change to your federal income tax return will almost always affect your state income tax return. If you live in a state with a state income tax, you must amend both returns.

What if I owe money? Will I have to pay a penalty?

If it’s after April 15 and you discover you underpaid your taxes, you may very well owe a penalty plus interest.

However, if you have good cause, such as erroneous information sent to you, be sure to attach a statement with your amended return and ask for an “abatement” of the penalty.

The IRS often grants abatements when taxpayers attempt to correct problems as soon as possible.

If you owe more tax because of a mistake on your return, the sooner you file and pay the tax, the less penalty and interest you will have to pay.

How long do I have to file an amended return?

You don’t have forever to fix mistakes or omissions on your return.

You generally must file an amended return within three years of the date you filed the original return, or within two years of the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.

Would you amend a tax return to get an additional $50 back? How about to get $200 back?

Photo credit: Hometown Beauty via photopin cc

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About Sally Herigstad

Sally Herigstad is a certified public accountant and personal finance columnist and author of Help! I Can't Pay My Bills, Surviving a Financial Crisis (St. Martin's Griffin). She writes regularly at CreditCards.com, Bankrate.com, Interest.com, RedPlum, and MSN Money. She is an experienced speaker and a member of Toastmasters International. Follow Sally on Twitter.

14 comments
worried77
worried77

My original tax return is $1335. I had to amend it because somehow the wrong social was used (?) And forgot to input 1 return (it was for 1 day of work for temp agency). Bow it says my return is only $8. Will I still get the original $1335?

Leonardclassical
Leonardclassical

I sent in 2012 Amended Return and the IRS received the form and posted on their site, "

Your amended return was received on December 02, 2013. However, it has not been processed. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Please call 800-829-0582, extension 623, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. You will need a copy of your amended return ." I have called them in /27/14. How long should I wait to contact them once again?


scotty01
scotty01

how long does it take to receive your amended refund if you mail it in?

lia H S
lia H S

How can I amend a 2012 state income tax? Also, can I still use Taxact even if i didn't use Taxact to file it?


escalante6306
escalante6306

How about 13,170 in my favor that HR Block left sitting on the table. Thank

goodness I found the error 1 month before the 3 yr deadline to amend. Now we sit and wait for the IRS to get us the money. Realistically how long does it take to get payment on an amended return?

chelljones
chelljones

I had used tax act for my Fed,but mailed my state,which was told it was done wrong. My question is now to re file using tax act do I need to amend my tax form?

Zig
Zig

This was my first year using Tax Act and somehow my W2 income was listed incorrectly as business income. This only occurred on my Federal Return, not state return. I filed an amended return almost 12 weeks ago and still waiting for my return. Not a happy first time Tax Act customer.

msrika0587
msrika0587

what forms will I need to send in if I amend and add the 1098-T

SilentCal
SilentCal

If I didn't contribute the maximum amount allowed to my IRA before I filed my taxes, but wish that I had--can I do that now and file an amended return? 

tforre7777
tforre7777

Can I file a 2011 tax amendment with taxact if I didn't originally file my taxes with taxact?

TaxACT Support
TaxACT Support

 @msrika0587 You will be provided instructions on what forms to mail including any attachments when completing the amendment process.  If you have further questions, please contact us through our Service & Support page at http://service.taxact.com.

TaxACT Support
TaxACT Support

While we can provide answers on where to enter information in the return, if you need assistance with what can and cannot be completed at this time, you should contact a financial advisor or tax professional.  Our TaxPayer Support Department, who can instruct you on where to enter information in the return, can be contacted through our Service & Support page at http://service.taxact.com.  ~sm

TaxACT
TaxACT

You can file an amended return using TaxACT even if you didn't file your original with our software.  Essentially you would first recreate the return as it was originally filed, print it, then complete the steps to amend your return.  For detailed instructions, please contact us through our Service & Support page at http://service.taxact.com and we'll be glad to assist!