How many years back can you file an amended tax return

how many years back can you file an amended tax return

Posted on July 1, 2015, by Admin, in Uncategorized, tagged

Tax returns are becoming more and more complex on an annual basis. There are more forms to fill, more information to give and it always seems that there is not enough time to get it all done. It is therefore not surprising that you may make a mistake on your tax returns, particurly when there is a change in your financial status.

As this is such a common occurrence, the IRS has come up with a way to amend your tax returns. You can choose to either pay any extra money you owe as tax or get a refund for the extra money that you paid as tax. The IRS, however, does not allow you to file your amended tax return online; you have to do so through email.

To change your tax return, fill form 1040X and send it to IRS. This is the form that reveals the changes that you are making, which amend the tax return that you filed. You are also required to attach any forms, schedules and documents that are being changed as per the amendment.

How far back can you amend tax returns?

The IRS is strict on how far back one can amend their tax returns, whether you are seeking a refund, or you owe tax. The timeframe is usually 3 years after the due date of the original return or 2 years since you paid tax.

How can I amend tax returns for multiple years?

If you are filing an amendment return that spans more than one year, then you need to fill in separate 1040X form for each return. Once filled, these forms should be mailed in separate envelopes. Each envelope should be addressed to the appropriate IRS processing center. Where necessary, attach any other relevant forms.

How do I indicate the year that I am looking to amend?

At the top of the 1040X form, there is a section where you can write down which tax year you are seeking to amend. It is important to write the correct year, as tax calculations change from one year to the next. If you need information on the prior year instructions, you can access the IRS website where they are available. You will also find relevant tax tables and forms.

What is reported in the amendment?

The amendment should be filled when you want to report changes in your status, deductions, credits or income. Note that you do not need to file an amendment in order to correct a mathematical error that you made while filing your returns or in order to include some of the documents you forgot to include while filing for your returns.

Checking the status of your amended return

You are allowed to email your amended returns after which you can check the status online using the ‘where is my amended return’ tool from IRS website. According to the IRS, the filed amended return could take three weeks before it appears on their database and eight to twelve weeks before it is processed.


Can You File a Tax Return Amended From Joint to Separate?

by Tom Streissguth

In most cases, the IRS won't allow you and your spouse to go your separate ways with taxes.

It's a taxpayer's prerogative to change her mind -- sometimes. The Internal Revenue Service allows you to correct or amend your tax return, but it sets a deadline for any changes you want to make. You can file an amended return to correct your income, deductions, exemptions and credits, as well as your filing status, with an important exception if you originally filed as "married, joint."

The IRS deadline on amended returns filed on Form 1040X is three years from the original due date, including extensions. If you filed on April 15, the 1040X for the year must be filed by April 15 of the third year after that date. If your extension changed your due date to Oct. 15 -- which is the maximum extension allowed -- your amended deadline is Oct. 15 of the third year. If you filed before Oct. 15, the date on which you filed sets the three-year clock ticking.

If you're married, you may file either joint or separate returns. Important differences exist: With a joint return, both spouses are responsible for the total tax; a separate return allows one spouse to be solely responsible for his own tax liability. But separate returns don't allow some important deductions and credits, such as the child tax credit. Married, separate returns incur a higher tax rate and usually result in a higher tax liability overall than if the couple had filed a joint return.

You can use the 1040X to change your filing status from married, filing separately to married, filing joint. This would allow you to claim several tax breaks that only joint filers can claim, including a lower tax rate on the total taxable income. You can also refile a tax return with a different filing status before the deadline of April 15. However, once you file a married, joint return, you can't amend the return to change your filing status to married, separate.

The IRS wants to avoid the situation in which one spouse escapes the joint tax liability by filing Form 1040X to claim married, separate status -- for example, in the case of a death or a divorce. Once the joint return is in, both spouses are responsible for the taxes, up to the statute of limitations on federal tax debt of 10 years. However, if one spouse has been made unfairly responsible for tax debts of the other, she can claim "innocent tax relief" with an explanation of the circumstances. The IRS may grant the claim if there are undisclosed assets, gambling winnings, business income or tax liability for which the spouse should not be held liable.

Founder/president of the innovative reference publisher The Archive LLC, Tom Streissguth has been a self-employed business owner, independent bookseller and freelance author in the school/library market. Holding a bachelor's degree from Yale, Streissguth has published more than 100 works of history, biography, current affairs and geography for young readers.

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