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05/22/2014

Filing an Amended Tax Return

So, you’ve completed and filed your tax return on time, but, oh no! You’ve discovered something was left out or perhaps an error was made.  Don't fret: you can request to correct the mistakes by filing an amended tax return.  In fact, so many American taxpayers are filing amended returns that the time it takes the IRS to process them has nearly doubled in the last five years.

Mistake-Fixing Tax Error-iStockIf you have filed a self-prepared return, statistics show math errors are the most common problem.  Generally, the IRS’ computer system will detect and correct the math automatically.  You will then receive an IRS notice by mail informing you whether you owe more taxes or will be refunded an amount you may have overpaid.

The IRS says taxpayers who use a professional tax preparer do not typically have issues with the math on a return, but rather the taxpayer has provided incorrect or incomplete information that then results in an error on the return regarding income, deductions and/or credits.

Should this happen to you, contact your tax preparer in order to better understand the steps to take.  You typically have up to 3 years from the date you filed your original tax return or two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later, to file an amended return.

The amended return and the Form 1040X that’s needed to file the amended return cannot be e-filed, so you will have to mail paper copies.  If you need to amend more than one year’s return, you should mail an amended return for each year separately.

If you are due a refund from your original return and expect your amended return will increase that refund amount, do not file the amended return until you have received the first calculated and requested refund.

If you discover you owe more tax, you should do your best to pay the additional tax as soon as possible in order to reduce any penalties and interest accrued on the unpaid amount.

Amended tax returns can now take up to 16 weeks to process due to an increase in the number of filed amended returns.  The IRS has an online tool called “Where’s My Amended Return?” which can be used to track the status of your amended return if it applies to taxes filed in the current year or up to 3 three years prior.

If you feel you have made a mistake or omission that may require you to file an amended return, contact us at McRuer CPAs and we’ll help you determine your best course of action and the best timing.

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