On average, the IRS receives 3.5 million amended tax returns during a typical filing year. So if you find that you need to amend your income taxes this year, rest assured that you’re not alone.
To ensure that your amended tax filing goes smoothly, here are our top five tips for filing amended tax returns.
1. Know When to File Amended Tax Returns
If the mistake on your income taxes is a small one, such as a mathematical error, the IRS may correct it for you. In these cases, if they do correct a mistake for you, the IRS will send you a letter to explain the correction and outline the next steps you need to take if any.
However, if the mistake is something more significant, such as a change in your filing status, income, or deductions, you’ll need to file an amended return.
2. Follow the Instructions on Your 1040X Form Carefully
You’ll be using this form to correct any mistakes that were made when filing income taxes with one of these forms:
Thankfully, Form 1040X is the only form you’ll need for your amended returns. While the 1040X Form is short (only two pages), the instructions must be followed diligently to prevent any additional mistakes.
3. Gather All the Necessary Documentation
In addition to Form 1040X, you’ll need the following documents:
- A copy of your original return
- Your 1099s or W-2s
- A list of your corrections/new calculations
- Any documents that support your corrections
You’ll need your original return to fill out column A on Form 1040X, summarizing the items on your return. However, keep in mind that changes you make for one item could affect others.
For example, deductions or tax credits may change if your adjusted gross income or filing status is updated. As we mentioned above, be sure to follow the form directions carefully to ensure nothing is missed.
4. Consult a Tax Professional
Taxes can be complex if you have multiple sources of income, multiple itemized deductions, or multiple tax credits you’re eligible for. In this case, it may be best to consult with a tax professional like the Silver Tax Group.
Tax professionals can make filing income taxes, a tax extension, or amended returns a much less painful process. When consulting a tax advisor, be sure to bring all of your tax documents with you so that they have everything they need to assist you.
5. Be Prepared To Include Payment
Once you’ve prepared your amended tax returns, they may reflect that you owe a balance to the IRS; you’ll need to be prepared to include your payment at the time of filing.
If paying the balance in full is not possible for you, a payment agreement can be made with the IRS. However, keep in mind that you may be charged penalties or interest.
File Your Amended Returns on Time
You have three years from the original filing date to submit an amended return. For any filing year before 2019, you’ll need to submit your amended return the old-fashioned way by mailing it. For 2019 and 2020, the IRS is allowing filers to submit their amended tax returns electronically.
Have you filed an amended return and have any additional tips? Let us know in the comments below!