07 / 20 / 12

Ten Tips for Correcting Tax Return Errors

It's July. Why are we STILL talking about taxes? Well, the truth is we pay taxes each and every day. In fact, some folks spend the better part of the first half of the year earning enough money to pay their yearly tax bill then the second half of the year earning money to pay themselves.

Anyway, midyear (July) is a good time of the year to evaluate your tax situation. You might pull out last year's return to see if you're on the same track this year and make some adjustments in payments, etc. When reviewing your return you also might discover an error on last year's return made during the haste of tax preparation season.

Don't fret or panic. Errors are correctable. We have 10 practical tips for correcting your tax return after it's been filed:

  1. When should I amend my return? Generally, you should file an amended return if your filing status, number of dependents, total income, tax deductions or tax credits were reported incorrectly or omitted.
  2. When NOT to amend a return. Ordinarily, there is no need to amend a return for minor math errors or missing forms. The IRS usually corrects these itself or requests the missing forms – such as Forms W-2 or schedules – when processing an original return.
  3. What Form do I Use for my Individual Return?? Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to amend a previously filed Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ. Make sure you check the box for the year of the return you are amending on the Form 1040X. An amended tax return cannot be filed electronically.
  4. Can I amend more than one Return? If you are amending more than one year's tax return, prepare a separate 1040X for each return and mail them in separate envelopes to the appropriate IRS processing center. Check www.IRS.gov for a list of the processing centers by region.
  5. About Form 1040X. The Form 1040X has three columns. Column A shows original figures from the original return. Column B shown the changes you are making. Column C shows the corrected figures. There is an area on the back of the form to explain the specific changes and the reasons for the changes.
  6. Changes to other Forms or Schedules. If the changes involve other schedules or forms, attach them to the Form 1040X. Failure to do this will cause a delay in processing.
  7. What about Refunds? If you are amending your return to get an additional refund, wait until you have received your original refund before filing Form 1040X. You may cash that check while waiting for any additional refund.
  8. What if I owe more tax? If you owe additional tax, you should file Form 1040X and pay the tax as soon as possible to limit interest and penalty charges. If you can't pay it, don't simply ignore the obligation – resolve it!
  9. Is there a deadline? Generally, to claim a refund, you must file Form 1040X within three years from the date you filed your original tax return or within two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.
  10. How long does it take? The normal IRS processing time for amended returns is 8 to 12 weeks. In our experience, it can take longer!

 ***Bryson Law Firm, LLC is a Louisiana law firm focusing 100% of our practice on helping people and businesses solve their IRS and Louisiana state tax problems. We have offices throughout the state in Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and Shreveport.**