What you need to know about amending your tax return

May 1, 2019

You’ve realized you’ve made a mistake on your tax return, but what do you do now? An amended tax return is your chance to correct any mistakes you might have made, and you aren’t in trouble if you have to do so! Many of our clients from the Denver, Aurora, Littleton and surrounding areas express concerns about filing an amended tax return, but with the proper guidance it can be a painless process that might result in bigger benefits for you! 

Do I have to complete an amended tax return? 
There are some mistakes that the IRS will correct for you, these might include minor math mistakes or missing information from a W2. In this case, the IRS will correct the mistake you’ve made or send you a letter requesting for more information. However, if you realize the mistake you’ve made will affect your tax obligation you do need to complete an amended tax return. 

Examples of this include: 
You’ve filed your taxes under an incorrect filing status
Forgetting dependents
Forgetting tax credits/deductions
Receiving additional tax documents after you’ve filed 

Just because you file an amended tax return doesn’t mean you’ll get audited by the IRS. This is a common misconception, and in fact if you file your amended tax return correctly you should be completely fine. Attaching the supporting documents (we will cover this in a bit) will also help keep you from getting audited after you file your amended return.

When should I file? 
The answer depends on how your mistake will affect your refund and tax obligation. If you are going to be getting a larger refund after you correct your mistake - wait to file your amended return until you receive the initial refund. If you are going to owe the government money, or it will shrink your refund, you’ll want to file the return as soon as possible! You have 2-3 years to file an amended tax return, after three years the IRS will typically not allow you to file an amended return.

Remember, you can’t e-file an amended return, so that might affect your timeline if you are looking to get this handled sooner rather than later. While popular softwares can help you complete the paperwork, you’ll still need to print out the return and mail it in. You are always welcome to contact our Advanced Tax Solutions team today to help with an amended tax return.

Why should I file? 
There are a few things you need to consider when thinking about your amended tax return. You should always amend your tax return if you know a considerable mistake has been made. If your tax return mistakes result in you owing the IRS, and they catch it first, you might have to pay additional interest on the tax due. It’s important to also know that the interest will accrue as the IRS takes time to find your mistake, so it could be more than you anticipate. But that could be the least of your problems. If the IRS determines you purposely made a mistake, they could file a tax evasion case against you. 

If you amend your return and end up owing the IRS more than initially thought, you might have to pay some penalties. How much you owe is calculated by how much is owed, and how long it has been since you filed the original tax return. To learn more about what you owe and what actions the IRS can take against you, contact our tax professionals at Advanced Tax Solutions.

What are my steps? 
First you’ll need to gather all tax documents, including your the original tax return you are looking to amend. If you need help determining what documents you will need contact us, we are here to help! When filing an amended tax return, you’ll need to file with a 1040X, or an Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return form. If you’ve used a software to fill out your initial taxes, most of the time you won’t have to fill in any original information just an explanation of the mistake you’ve made. 

Remember to add any documents you have used in preparing your amended tax return. For example, if you forgot a W2 on the original tax return, be sure to make a copy of the W2 and include it when you mail your amended tax return. No matter if you’ve used software, or our services, we can help you file your amended tax return quickly and correctly.

When you are ready to submit your amended tax return, gather all supporting documentation and attach them with your amended tax return before placing it in the mail. Be sure that you only include copies of your supporting documentation - do not include originals! We also recommend making a second copy of your amended return to keep for your records prior to mailing it to the IRS. 

When am I able to check on it? 
It can take up to three weeks before you are able to check the status of your amended return on the IRS website. Once your amended return is listed, it can take an additional 16 weeks to fully process and receive a resolution. Stay patient, and don’t worry! You’ve taken the correct step in remedying your mistakes. 

If you are filing an amended tax return from a different tax season, chances are you will be in it for the long haul. Traditionally, the older the amendment the longer it will take to process and you could be looking at waiting the full 16 weeks to receive a resolution.

If you are unsure if you have to file an amended tax return, please contact our Advanced Tax Solutions team today. We are here to help you determine if you need to file an amended tax return, and to help you successfully navigate the amended tax return process. If you have any additional questions or requests, even unrelated to the amended tax return process we are always here to help. 
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