How to Fix a Mistake on your Tax Returns

No system is perfect, even the ones that can be seen as sometimes unforgiving to us. The tax system is no exception. The tax system is incredibly complicated and to make matters worse, rules change every year. How can any tax payer be expected to remember to do everything exactly right every time?

Figures are miscopied. Forms and schedules are filled out wrong. Others are forgotten entirely.

Luckily, there is a way to fix those mistakes as they crop up. The IRS has an amendment form to help you fix mistakes on your tax returns.

Amendment Form 1040X

The amendment form is called the 1040X. It must be mailed, not e-filed.

This form comes with three columns, labeled A to C. Column A is to mark figures from the original return. Column B shows the changes you are making. Column C reflects the corrected figures. You have a place on the back to explain why those changes were made.

If the changes affect other schedules or forms, they are to be attached to the updated forms to the 1040X to complete the package. Mail that package in.

When to File a 1040X

If you owe the government more taxes, you need to file the form immediately and pay that additional tax as soon as possible. The sooner you set yourself right with the IRS, the better. It’s honest.

When you are expecting additional refunds, the general restriction is to file within three years of the date you originally filed, or within two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. Just as long as you submit before those times, you’ll be just fine, with only one exception.

If you haven’t received your original refund though, wait until that money has been received before filing your 1040X.

A Helping IRS

Mistakes happen, the IRS understands that. They don’t want to punish you for them. They just want to straighten things out. That’s what the 1040X is for. They’ll help you sort it out. They are looking to create good, honest relationships with us.

photo credit: kenteegardin via photopin cc

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