Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tips for Filing Amended Returns

Amended returns are generally filed when an error is discovered in the original return, which has already been filed. It is probably unnecessary to file an amended return for extremely small errors; however, larger errors should be corrected whether they are in your favor or not. Here are a few tips when filing:
  1. Amended returns cannot be filed electronically even if the original was filed in that manner. The return must be submitted on paper.
  2. The correct form to use is form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.
  3. Some of the items that might trigger you to file an amended return include: a change in your filing status for that year, a change in the income claimed or a change in the deductions or credits claimed.
  4. Math errors usually do not need to be corrected by filing an amended return as the IRS does the mathematical calculations and corrects any errors automatically.
  5. Forgetting to attach your W-2 or other schedule does not require filing an amended return.  The IRS will send you a request for those documents. As such, filing an amended return for this could actually create confusion and unnecessary time delays.
  6. The time limit for filing an amended return is three years from the date the original return was filed, or two years from the date the tax was paid—whichever of these options is later becomes the applicable date.
  7. Enter the year of the tax return you are amending at the top of the form 1040X. Without this information, the IRS has no idea what returns you are trying to amend and confusion ensues.
  8. For amendments to multiple tax returns, be sure to complete a separate 1040X form for each tax year and send them in separate envelopes. This allows better tracking by the IRS.
  9. Attach any new or amended schedules to the 1040X form.
  10. If you are receiving a refund on the original tax return and anticipate an additional refund from the amended return, wait to receive the first refund before submitting the amendment documents. You can cash the first check right away.
  11. Note that amendments can take up to 12 weeks to process.
  12. If the amended return results in an additional tax payment for you, pay it as soon as possible to minimize penalties and interest from the late payment.
  13. The IRS has a tool on their website, “Where’s My Amended Return.” Your amendment can be tracked there after waiting three weeks from the date of filing. Your tax ID number, birthday and zip code will be necessary.
  14. Multiple years of amended returns can be tracked on “Where’s My Amended Return.”

Give us a call for assistance with amended tax returns to ensure they are done correctly and more than one amendment is not necessary.


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