It has been over two months since most Americans filed their federal income tax returns. For many that means they will not give their taxes much thought again until the start of next year (or possibly not until the days leading up to April 15).
Then you receive another statement in the mail from an investment account where you earned income. The statement was apparently lost in the mail, so you did not report the income in your income tax return. Now you realize the IRS has a copy of the statement as well, so the income they are expecting you to report will not match what you claimed as income in your taxes.
Typically, in such situations it is okay to do nothing. The review processes of the IRS will likely catch that you failed to include the income and pay taxes on it, and they will happily notify you of the error and send you a bill for it. So long as the miss was not a blatant attempt to dodge your tax liability, you can simply pay that bill and that will often be the end of it.
Or you learn about a change in the Internal Revenue Code that allows you to deduct an expense you could not deduct previously. Including that deduction in your tax return might save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars, so you want to take full advantage of the deductions available to you.
In this situation, the IRS will not catch that you missed a deduction or send you a refund. Therefore, if you want that deduction, you will have to file an amended tax return.
Following is basic information about how to amend your tax return.
Filing Form 1040X
The IRS has a process for a taxpayer to amend a tax return. Form 1040X, Amended US Individual Income Tax Return, exists as the name implies for the purpose of making a change, or amendment, on a tax return you have filed previously.
To amend your return, you complete Form 1040X, which includes a place to explain the purpose of the change, and include any documentation to support the change. You will also need to include a copy of the original tax return you filed.
Once you file the amended return, it can take the IRS up to two months to process it and send you any additional refund you may be due. You can track the status of your return by going to www.irs.gov and selecting the link to “Where’s My Amended Return”. You can also call the IRS at 1-866-464-2050 to check on the status.
You can amend your tax return for up to three years after the date when it was filed or for up to two years after you paid any tax liability related to a prior return, whichever is later. However, in certain special circumstances such as claiming a deduction for a bad debt receivable or for a foreign tax credit not filed previously, you have longer to amend the return.
If you are amending a tax return for multiple years, you will need to file a separate Form 1040X for each tax year.
Tax Attorney Help in Filing an Amended Tax Return
If you are unsure how to complete Form 1040X, if a change you have encountered is worthy of filing an amended tax return, or you have other questions about your income tax, help is available to you. You can speak with a tax attorney about your situation. A tax attorney has the training and experience necessary to interpret the tax laws that apply to you and advise you on any questions you need.
You can speak with a tax attorney by complete the form on this page. The first conversation is completely free and does not obligate you to anything further. Therefore, get the help you need with your tax questions today.
Mark has been a contributor to legal web sites related to bankruptcy, tax, and criminal law since 2011. He has an Accounting degree from Texas A&M University.