filing amended tax return 2016
Allison, April 3, 2013
It’s happened to me, and—if you’re reading this post—it’s probably happened to you. You’ve gathered all your documents, completed your tax return, filed it through NETFILE , and are feeling pretty good about being done. But then you receive another slip, find a missing receipt, discover a typo, or simply realize that you need to make a change.
First, don’t panic. You can change your return. While you can’t resubmit your return through NETFILE , making a change isn’t hard. Let me walk you through it.
You can only change your return once it’s been assessed. This usually occurs within seven days of filing. 1 Using CRA My Account, you can click on the “Tax Return” tab to see whether your return has been assessed. Otherwise, you’ll need to wait for your Notice of Assessment to arrive in the mail.
The easiest and fastest way to change your return is through My Account. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be “adjusted” in no time:
- Log in to SimpleTax and—if you haven’t already—save a PDF copy of your tax return using “Print return”. This file is just for your records; we won’t use it again.
- Make the necessary changes to your return in SimpleTax.
- Save a new PDF copy of your return.
- Log in to My Account, click on the “Tax Return” tab, and then click on “View returns”. You’ll see a list of your tax returns and their assessments. The most recent year is at the top of the list. Click on “Assessed” for the year you want to change. You should now see at a page that looks like this:
The first few sections (Total income, Net income, Taxable income, and Refund or Balance Owing) are on your T1 General. As you scroll down the page, you’ll see the other schedules and forms from your return. Note that not every form will be shown (e.g., form T2125 doesn’t appear). 2
The tab that opens has a search box which you can use to search for the line numbers that have changed. You might find it simpler to just click on the tabs that correspond to the relevant section of your return.
Note that you can’t change any lines that are calculated (e.g., your total income on line 150). The CRA’s system does this for you.
If you don’t use My Account, you can fill out a T1- ADJ form and mail it to the CRA . 3
If you have any questions about the nitty gritty of changing your return, send us a message on Facebook or Twitter. We’re here to help!
1 If you didn’t use NETFILE , or if you invest in tax shelters, this can take more than 7 days.
2 If you need to make a change to your business income, you only need to adjust the corresponding lines on the T1 General (Gross Income and Net Income).
3 The steps are outlined on the form and are quite straightforward. The same idea applies: you are just advising the CRA of which line numbers have changed.
Get your refund. File your 2016 tax return today.
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Y ou might have found, when going back through your tax return, that there are some mistakes. Maybe you didn’t take a credit you were entitled to. Sometimes, filers report the wrong filing status. No matter the reason, a mistake on your tax return usually means that you will need to file an amended tax return. An amended tax return is meant to help you correct such situations. (Note, though, that the IRS does not consider calculation errors as a reason for filing an amended return; the computer usually catches these.)
You usually have three years to file an amended tax return, dating from when you filed the return that needs a correction. So if you didn’t take a credit on your 2009 tax return, you can file your amended return and possibly get a tax refund for it. Realize, too, that once you file your original return, you can’t file another one that is more accurate. Once your return is off to the IRS, you need to file an amended return to fix any errors.
The proper form for filing an amended tax return is 1040X. You can usually find this form at the library, city offices, or at IRS.gov. You should also be aware that if you owe additional money to the IRS, you will need to make that payment by Tax Day in the year that you file the amended return. Regular payment methods accepted by the IRS can be used to meet your tax obligation.
Include, with your 1040X, schedules and forms that contribute to the reason you are filing the amended return. This means that you need to including an W-2 forms or 1099 forms that may have been forgotten. If you made a mistake filling out a form for a tax credit, or filling out one of the Schedules, you will need to include that as well, properly filled out this time.
For returns amended for tax years prior to 2010, you have to mail in the form; there is no electronic option for filing. However, starting with tax year 2010, you will be able to file your amended return electronically using e-file. This should speed up the process of processing amended returns, and help you get the money you might be owed a little bit faster.
Sometimes, the IRS will ask you to amend your tax return. This means that there is a suspicion that not everything is above board. The IRS will send you a letter — via mail — with the request. Make sure that you comply with the request. Be sure to include a copy of the letter asking you to file an amended return with your documentation.
Filing an amended return can be a way to remedy a problem with your tax return. Indeed, it is the only way to fix some of the more glaring mistakes and omissions. Make sure you file your 1040X properly. If you have questions, it might be a good idea to consult with a trusted tax professional who can help you properly prepare your documents.
Made a Mistake on Your Taxes? How to File an Amended Tax Return
This story has been updated to reflect the 2013 tax year.
Sending off your completed tax return is an amazing feeling. Goodbye to all that work until next year!
That is, until you realize you’ve made a mistake.
Maybe an extra 1099 came in the mail. Or you read one of our many tax articles and found out you missed a huge credit that could save you a couple thou. Ummm, what next?
Mistakes happen. So the IRS has a special form just for you: the 1040X. It’s what you use to file an amended return.
File an amendment if you:
- Claimed a dependent you shouldn’t have, or now realize you can claim a dependent you didn’t
- Need to change your income, like if you forgot to report some freelancing gigs or interest income
- Need to add or eliminate credits or deductions
- Need to change your personal exemptions
- Need to report additional withholding
- Are a same-sex couple who can now take advantage of married, filing jointly status
Don’t file an amendment if:
- You made a math error in adding or subtracting line items. The IRS will correct these for you.
What if you made a mistake that means you owe the IRS more in taxes, but the IRS didn’t notice? Can’t you just let it slide?
Bad idea. Besides the fact that this is tax fraud, if the IRS does discover this, you will have to pay the tax you owe plus interest that has accrued on it. It’s worth it to make sure you’re all buttoned up.
If you filed before the deadline (which is usually April 15th), then you have three years from the deadline date.
So, let’s say that back when you filed taxes in 2011, you failed to claim a deduction for closing costs you incurred in 2010 (and you realized this after reading our post for homeowners). You can file an amended return to claim that deduction up until April 15th 2014, which is three years after the April 15th, 2011 filing deadline.
Let’s say you had a similar situation as above, but you couldn’t pay your taxes outright. You ended up paying the IRS in installments and finally paid off the last of your taxes in June 1, 2012. The IRS gives you more leeway here, giving you two years from when you paid off your taxes or three years from the filing date—whichever is longer—to file an amendment. So in this case, you can file an amendment up until June 1, 2014, which is two years after you finished paying for your 2010 taxes. (Find out what to do if you owe taxes and can’t pay.)
You can file an amendment at any time, but the IRS prefers that you wait until you have received the refund that came from your original return before filing the amendment. (You can cash that check.) Once you have that, you can get started.
You will need to fill out a full 1040, regardless of if you filed a 1040A or 1040-EZ originally. (Learn the differences between these forms.) The IRS carefully reviews amended returns, so take extra care to prepare this return accurately—it helps to have your original 1040 form in front of you while you do so.
The bad news is that even if you e-filed your original return, you will need to file the new 1040 and 1040X on paper. Some online tax preparers like H&R Block allow you to fill this form out online, but you will still need to print it out to send it in.
Include only supporting documents that changed or are new, and use a highlighter to point out which figures are different or are important for the IRS to look at. Mark your corrected 1040, or other corrected tax documents and schedules, “As Amended.” Also take this opportunity to review everything else again too, in case you missed something else. It would be worth your time to read our other articles on taxes to see if you missed any credits, took the wrong filing status or something else.
Once you have your new 1040 filled out, you will use that to fill out the 1040X, which summarizes what is on your 1040. You will write down the original amounts, the new amounts and the difference between them.
On the back of 1040X, you will explain the changes. Include why those changes are being made, what the numbers are, and exactly where to find them, line by line. Be succinct but complete. If you need extra space, you can type up the explanation and attach it to your 1040X.
Make sure to put the year for which you are preparing the amended return at the top, which is the tax year before the year you filed. So if you filed the return in April 2011, that means it is for tax year 2010, which is what you should put down. If you are amending more than one year, fill out a separate 1040X and 1040 for each year, and mail it in a separate envelope.
Like we said before, the IRS will look at this 1040 much more closely, so go through it carefully looking for errors.
Include any supporting documentation. You should mail it to the appropriate center listed on the 1040X instructions. Keep in mind that you will, most likely, also need to file an amended state return. You should receive confirmation within 8-12 weeks. Longer, if the IRS is in its busiest times for processing returns.
If you will now get a bigger refund than you did the first time you filed, you’ll have the option to either get a check for the difference, or apply that amount to next year’s tax bill. If you underpaid, then you will have to pay the difference. If you are filing your amendment after the due date for that tax year (i.e. April 15, 2014 for the 2013 tax year), the IRS charges interest and penalties on those unpaid taxes, but they are extremely difficult to calculate on your own. So send the amount you underpaid, and wait for the IRS to send you back a bill which will state what you owe in penalties and interest, which you can then pay.
Need more time to file your taxes? We show you how.
If you’re a freelancer or plan on freelancing this year, read this post now to save yourself money and time.