- 1 How to Amend, Change or Correct a Return You Already Filed
- 2 What you should know about filing an amended tax return
- 3 Oops! There’s a Mistake in My Taxes, How Do I Fix It? Amended Returns
- 4 2017 Amended Tax Return Refund Schedule, Rules, Form 1040X and Deadlines
- 5 how many years can you amend taxes
How to Amend, Change or Correct a Return You Already Filed
Amending your return allows you to go back and fix mistakes.
Nobody's perfect, and the Internal Revenue Service understands that applies even when it comes to filing your taxes. Even after you have filed your return, the tax code allows you to amend your return for the current tax year as well as the three prior tax years, whether you missed a deduction or credit or if you realized that you owe more than you paid and need to make it up.
To amend your return, you must use a separate Form 1040X for each tax year you're amending. For example, if you realized for the last two years you should have been deducting your student loan interest, you would need to file two separate Form 1040Xs. Form 1040X has three columns. Column A shows the amount from your original return, column B shows the change to the original and Column C shows the new amounts. For example, if the student loan interest deduction you forgot to take would reduce your adjusted gross income
from $67,000 to $66,000, you would write $67,000 in column A, $1,000 in column B and $66,000 in column C.
When you put together your amended return, include copies of any tax schedules that are changing or any documents supporting the changes. For example, say you're claiming a mortgage interest deduction that you forgot to report. Since it is an itemized deduction, you need to include a new Schedule A with your amended return and send a copy of your Form 1098, which documents your mortgage interest paid, along with your tax return.
You must mail a paper copy of your amended return rather than submitting it electronically. Where you mail it usually depends on where you're living when you amend the return. However, there are special addresses if you're filing an amended return in response to an IRS notice, after receiving reimbursement for a hurricane-related loss, or if you're filing it with a Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ. You can find the specific address for you in the Form 1040X Instructions.
What you should know about filing an amended tax return
Even taxpayers who filed by April 15 may not be done wrangling with Uncle Sam any time soon.
The reason: They're amending their return. In most cases, the IRS gives taxpayers three years from the date they filed their original return, including extensions, to make changes. Regardless of what form you initially filed, and how, federal income tax amendments must be submitted via paper using form 1040X. Each state has its own forms and procedures.
"It's not extremely common, but it's certainly not rare, either," said Melissa Labant, director of tax advocacy for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Last April, the IRS said it expected that almost 5 million taxpayers—about 4 percent of the 131.2 million returns received—would file an amended return.
Although the IRS has not yet released estimates for this year, spokesman Eric Smith said it's likely to be a figure similar to last year's. "It's not unusual for there to be 3 to 4 percent of returns, sometimes a little more, amended in a given year," he said. By April 17, according to its latest report, the agency had received nearly 132.3 million individual returns, 0.8 percent more than last year.
"We have an amended return for the same reason pencils have erasers," said Smith. "We all make mistakes. … It's a mechanism to fix what's wrong."
Reasons why a taxpayer might amend an income tax return filed this year, or even in previous years, vary widely. Sometimes it's as simple as a 1099, K-1 or other tax form that arrives or is corrected after you've already filed, said Barbara Weltman, a tax and business attorney based in Vero Beach, Florida. Or maybe you realize you forgot to claim a valuable deduction. Worthless securities and bad debts also merit an amendment, she said—in which case, taxpayers have up to seven years to go back and claim the loss.
Other circumstances are tied to specific events and rule changes. For example, after the Treasury Department and the IRS ruled in 2013 that married same-sex couples would be treated as married for federal tax purposes, those couples could opt to amend returns filed up to three previous years. Victims of some natural disasters may also be able to amend their prior year's return to include the losses, said Smith, which can result in a faster refund than waiting until the next filing season.
"It's a relatively simple process to file an amended return if you have the corrected information," said Labant. The three-column Form 1040X has taxpayers copy line items from their original return, noting which should be corrected and the net change. There's a section to explain why you're amending the return. Taxpayers should also attach any documents supporting the change (i.e., that missing charitable donation receipt or corrected 1099).
There's good reason to file an amendment quickly if you suspect you owe the IRS more. "It stops the clock on penalties," said Weltman. "It behooves you to not wait until the IRS catches you." (Keep in mind, in most cases the IRS can audit returns filed within the last three years, or up to six if a taxpayer fails to report 25 percent of more of his income.) But if you made a simple math error, there's usually no need to amend the return, she said—the IRS's computers usually catch that quickly and generate a notice with your corrected bill.
Of course, a refund is also good reason to file an amended return. In that case, weigh your time and money costs in refiling against the potential gain, said Labant. "It may not be worth your while," she said. "Why spend a buck to get back a quarter? That's going to vary on a case-by-case basis."
If the government owes you, don't expect to get that money any time soon. While the IRS has said it issues most tax season refunds within 21 days of receipt, that's for original returns only. "You should generally allow 8 to 12 weeks for Form 1040X to be processed," it notes in the instructions. "However, in some cases, processing could take up to 16 weeks."
"We very much have a priority during the tax season for current year, original returns," Smith said. "Amended returns are a somewhat lower priority." Paper returns also contribute to the lag, he said, because they must be reviewed by a person rather than a computer.
Oops! There’s a Mistake in My Taxes, How Do I Fix It? Amended Returns
When you have a tax “oops” you fix it by filing an Amended Tax Return, form 1040X.
Mistakes happen. You file your return and later get a W2 in the mail for a job you had forgotten about. Maybe your investment firm sent you an amended 1099 because your interest income they reported was wrong. Or maybe you were talking to a friend and learned about a deduction that you should have been claiming for the past three years and you’d like a refund. What do you do?
It’s easy, you need to file an amended return, the form is called a 1040X and you can find it on the IRS website: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040x.pdf.
An amended return can’t be filed electronically like a regular return. You must mail it in and it’s going to take about 12 weeks to process. That’s a bummer if you’re expecting a refund, but that’s the way it works. If your regular return had a refund, make sure you wait until you’ve received the first refund before you file the amended return. (If they start processing the amended return before your original refund gets paid, it can mess up you getting the original refund. You don’t want that to happen now do you?)
If you have more than one tax return that needs to be amended, you must file separate returns for each year and mail them in separate envelopes. For example, say you found out that you had missed a $1000 deduction on your Schedule A every year and you’re in the 25% tax bracket. You can’t just put $3000 on this year’s return for a $750 refund. You’ll have to amend 2010, 2009, and 2008 separately and you’ll receive three checks for $250 each. It’s too late now to claim a refund that should have gone on 2007.
When you amend your tax return, you’ll have to send in the schedules of anything that changed. In the example above, the thing that changed was on the schedule A, so that form would also have to be attached. Don’t attach any forms that didn’t change. Warning: for many folks, a change in one part of your tax return can cause a change somewhere else-most notably on your schedule A. Before you actually mail anything in, go over it carefully to see if you have any unexpected changes.
When you file a 1040X, make sure you check the box for the tax year that you’re amending. That’s a pretty common mistake. The IRS can’t process the return if they don’t know what year it’s for.
When not to file an amended return: You don’t need to file an amended return for a basic math mistake. The IRS will automatically fix that for you. You also don’t need to file an amended return if your original was missing a schedule. That’s where you get a letter from the IRS saying that you claimed something on your return but that you’re missing the supporting documents. A common example of that would be a capital gain of $2000 on your return, but there’s no schedule D to back it up. You don’t need to amend the return, just mail them the schedule D. The IRS will ask you for whatever schedule they’re looking for, you won’t have to guess at what’s missing.
I’ve talked a lot about filing an amended return because of a refund. Sometimes when you file an amended return you’re going to owe. If you have a balance due, mail the payment check with your 1040X. The IRS will probably send you a bill for interest and maybe even penalties depending upon how much you owed. Be prepared for that.
Often times, people are thinking about filing amended returns because they received an IRS letter. Sometimes, you don’t need to amend, just pay the tax. Sometimes, you really need to amend because you shouldn’t have to pay the tax but you need to submit more information. Sometimes, you don’t need to amend and you don’t need to pay the tax—the IRS made a mistake and they just need to have it pointed out to them. Before you start writing that check, get a professional opinion–you want to pay your fair share, not more than you owe.
2017 Amended Tax Return Refund Schedule, Rules, Form 1040X and Deadlines
So you have submitted your tax return and at some stage down the road you notice that you forgot to claim one of the many stimulus credits or qualified deductions. You may think that this money is gone now that your return has been submitted but you would be wrong; since you can actually send an amended tax return and claim this extra cash. The IRS will process – free of charge – your amended return and then pay you back what you are due. On the flip side if you owe more than you paid with your original filing, then you should still file an amended return with the extra tax payments. Most likely you will also have to pay a fine or penalty as well – which will be lower the sooner you pay the extra taxes. Also it is better to fess up an pay early rather than face an IRS audit which will pick up these overdue tax payments
While the IRS promises to have regular return refunds processed within 21 days for nine out of ten tax payers, it does take quite a bit longer to receive a refund if you amended your tax return. Generally you will have to wait 8 to 12 weeks for the IRS to process amended returns since they prioritize regular returns. Also note that the standard”Where’s my refund” service from the IRS does not track amended tax return status’. You need to use the IRS tool, Where’s My Amended Return” instead. You can also access the tool via phone by calling 1-866-464-2050. Only call the IRS to follow up on delayed amended return refunds after 12 weeks. The number to call is 1-800-829-1040
Here are other key factors to keep in mind with amended tax return filings:
– What you can and cannot file an amended return for. You should file an amended return if you discover any of the following items were reported incorrectly: filing status, dependents, total income, deductions or credits. You usually do not need to file an amended return because you forgot to include tax forms such as W-2s or schedules. The IRS normally will send a separate request asking for those documents.
– Once you have submitted your federal income tax return, you can no longer change that return. (One exception: If your e-filed tax return is rejected, you can make changes before sending it in again) If you want to make changes after the original tax return has been filed, you must file an amended tax return using a special form called the 1040X – Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, entering the changes and explaining why you need to amend your original tax return. You don’t have to redo your entire return, either. Just show the necessary changes and adjust your tax liability accordingly
– Deadlines to File the Amended return. You generally must file an amended return within three years of the date you filed the original return or within two years after the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. Be sure to enter the year of the return you are amending at the top of Form 1040X
– You can use e-tax preparation software to amend your return. In fact, TurboTax walks you step-by-step through amending your federal income tax return. However you still need to file and mail the amended return using Form 1040X manually. The IRS isn’t set up to accept an amended returns electronically.
– If you are amending more than one tax return, prepare a 1040X for each return and mail them in separate envelopes to the IRS office for the area in which you live. The 1040X instructions list the addresses for the campuses. If the changes involve another schedule or form, you must attach it to the 1040X.
– Amending your state tax return. First, fill out an amended federal income tax return, Form 1040X. Then, get the proper form from your state and fill it out. Like the IRS, your state uses a special form for an amended return. Many states also use the X suffix for the form number. For example, California uses Form 540X and Hawaii uses Form N-188X. Don’t forget to attach a copy of your amended federal return (Form 1040X) to your amended state return.
– If you owe additional taxes for a past tax year, you should still file. Form 1040X and pay the tax as soon as possible to limit interest and penalty charges. Interest is charged on any tax not paid by the due date of the original return, without regard to extensions.
how many years can you amend taxes
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.