Amending a Tax Return: Have You Missed Out On A Larger Tax Refund?

What happens if you receive a corrected W-2 or 1099 after you file? Or if you discover an error after you file? Whatever the case, you can generally make the correction by filing an amended tax return.

When Should You Consider Filing an Amended Tax Return?

Generally, you should file an amended return in these three instances:

  1. You need to correct your total income, tax deductions or tax credits.
  2. If your filing status or the number of dependents claimed is incorrect.
  3. If you think you paid more tax than required.

Please note: Math errors don’t require an amended return and are usually corrected by the IRS. The IRS will send you a letter notifying you of the adjustment.

When Can You File an Amended Tax Return?

You have three years from the date you filed your original return or within two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later, to file an amended return and claim a refund. If you filed your original return before the due date, your return is deemed filed on the due date of the original return.

If as a result of amending your return you owe more tax, you should file the amended return and pay the additional tax as soon as possible to limit any interest and late payment penalties. Be aware that the IRS can generally assess additional tax and penalties three years after a return is due or filed, whichever is later. However, some situations allow for a longer assessment period.

What Are The Steps for Filing an Amended Tax Return?

Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to amend a return. Form 1040X has three columns.

  • Column A shows figures from the original return.
  • Column B shows the changes you are making.
  • Column C shows the corrected figures.

There’s also an area on the second page of the form where you should explain the specific changes and the reasons for the changes. If the changes involve other tax schedules or forms, attach them to the Form 1040X. Failure to do this will cause a delay in processing.

Not a Tax Expert? Who Can You Lean On For Amending a Tax Return?

Block Advisors offers Second Look, where if you bring in a previous tax return, our expert tax advisors will review it to see if you received the maximum refund possible on previously-filed returns. Our advisors can amend prior-year tax returns for the previous tax season and up to three prior tax years. They will work to prepare a tax return for you using your previously completed tax return as the source document, and conduct an interview as if it were a normal tax return.

Think you may have missed out on refund money? Find an office nearest you and schedule an appointment now.


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