Realizing that you made an error on your taxes can make you stop in your tracks. It feels stressful to realize that your tax returns may be sent to the wrong address, or worse, that your tax returns might be nonexistent due to a simple mistake. Read on to learn about how to file an amended tax return, in order to correct any errors that you may have made in the tax preparation process.
Common Tax Preparation Mistakes
Filing Too Early
One of the first mistakes that people tend to make is filing too early. If you work more than one job or are expecting additional forms to indicate student loan interest that has been paid or employer-funded moving expenses, you may be in the position of realizing that you forgot to add important documents into your tax submission.
Missing an Opportunity to Deduct
Otherwise, you may have missed selecting a deduction that could save you money in the long run. You’ll want to go back and rewrite your tax submission to include the deduction that will impact the amount you get on your tax return.
Did you file independently and then get told that your parents have claimed you on their taxes as a dependent? Assuming that they are correct in their decision to file with you listed, you will need to file an amended return in order to correct this. Additionally, if you have claimed your child but someone else claimed them also, you will need to determine who should have claimed them and the other person will need to adjust their paperwork accordingly.
Although the simplest, this is one of the most common errors. People who file without tax software often make simple math mistakes that contribute to them over or underpaying their taxes. Similarly, typographical errors, such as incorrect social security numbers or inaccurate account numbers can lead to the IRS having no venue through which to send your tax return to you.
Filing Under the Wrong Status
The most common way that people misfile in this instance is filing as single when they should be filing jointly. Remember, the IRS expects you to file jointly if you were married at any point during the tax year.
Not Filing At All
Even if you are concerned about being able to take on all of your tax payments, you must still file. You can always ask the IRS to put your payments on an installment plan. In other words, there is always a solution, so do not use this concern as an excuse not to file your taxes. Trust us, the penalties for that are much worse.
Why Should I Amend My Taxes?
Interest begins building quickly when the IRS notices that they were owed more money than they received. It is important that as soon as you are notified, or realize yourself, that an error was made on your taxes, you submit an amended tax return in order to avoid costly penalties.
Amending Your Tax Return
Gather The Correct Paperwork
Of course, you will need all of your original tax documents. If you did not keep a copy of your W-2 (although we recommend that you always do!) you can file a Form 4852 to ask the IRS to send you a copy, assuming your employer furnished them with one.
Additionally, you will need all of the paperwork required to submit your amendment. This can vary, based on what you are adding or removing from your tax paperwork. As this can get tricky, consider using professional tax services to ensure that you have selected all of the appropriate papers.
Complete a 1040X
Rather than submitting an entirely new set of tax documents, the 1040X will allow you to submit paperwork indicating only the numbers that have changed. This form cannot be filed electronically; a hard copy must be mailed in. Traditionally, this form is due within two to three years from the date of the mistaken filing. However, if you choose to amend more than one year, you will need to submit separate forms for each year that you are amending.
Again, this is an excellent place to receive professional help. Because your chances of being audited increase as you file incorrect paperwork, it is important that this amended form be filled out accurately and to the fullest extent.
Submit Your Amendment
Ensure that you have all of the necessary documents included in the packet you intend to send to the IRS. File them securely within an envelope.
If you owe additional money to the IRS, consider sending a payment within your documents in order to lessen the impact of interest and other penalties over time.
Wait for Verification
The process is not complete until the IRS sends you verification that they have accepted your amendments. This can take two to three months, so if you do not hear back immediately, do not feel stressed.
You are able to track your tax status using the IRS’ online tracking tool. You can also call a progress check in at 866-464-2050. The holds can be lengthy, though–we would not advise calling until a few months after you have submitted your paperwork, in order to account for processing time.
White Nelson Diehl Evans is Here to Help
As one of the leading Irvine CPA firms, WNDE is here to help you through your tax preparation needs. Don’t let something like needing to file an amendment set you back. Use our professional tax services to ensure that your paperwork is filed accurately and on time.