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Essential Info for Amending Your Tax Returns

Making Amends with the Taxman

If you submit your tax returns to the IRS and later find out you made a mistake, amending your return is a simple process that sweeps your error under the rug quickly and easily.

But if the IRS already did it for you, don’t worry. They fix taxpayers’ math errors all the time, so save amended returns for when you forgot to include important information.

The process is simple. The Form 1040X you’ll have to snail mail to the IRS amends your previously filed Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. The process is complete in about two to three months.

Form 1040X has three columns: A is for the original figures; C shows the corrected figures, and B is for the difference. On the back of the form is where you explain specific changes and the reasons. If changes have to be made to other schedules or forms, just attach them to your 1040X.

Here’s some other information you’ll need to know to file your amendment:

  • If you incorrectly reported your filing status, total income, dependents or your deductions and credits, make sure to file an amended return.
  • Sometimes people file an amended return to receive an additional refund. Wait until you receive your original refund before filing Form 1040X. The period to file is within three years of filing your original return or within two years from when you paid any tax.
  • If you’re filing an amended return because you found out you owe additional tax, file your Form 1040X as soon as you can to avoid as much interest and penalties as possible.
  • Multiple years’ returns being amended? Just file a separate 1040X for each return.

Tax time can become messy and disorganized. With so many forms and documents to store and keep track of, a missing piece of paper can lead to a missing income receipt and an inaccurate tax return. Don’t let your small problems with the IRS become big. If the IRS wages collection action against you, make sure to get a tax attorney on your side to protect your rights.

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