Paycheck Chronicles

Help! I Did My Taxes Wrong!


It happens to (almost) everyone eventually - you file your income tax return, and then realize that it's not quite right.   Don't fret! Filing an amended tax return isn't difficult, and it will ensure that you've paid the correct amount of tax.

Who Should File An Amended Return

You should file an amended return any time you discover that the facts of your original return are incorrect.  Common reasons to file an amended tax return include the receipt of a new or amended tax statement, overlooking deductions or credits, or  choosing the wrong filing status or dependency information.  You don't need to file an amended return for errors in math, or because you forgot to include a document.

How Do You File An Amended Return

All amended returns are done using a Form 1040X, regardless of what return you originally used to file.  You must include any schedules and forms that have changes.  Amended returns must be done on paper. There is no way to do an amended return electronically.  Be sure to note the year you are amending at the top of the Form 1040X.  If you are submitting amended returns for more than one tax year, mail them separately.

When Can You File An Amended Return

In most cases, amended returns must be filed within three years of the original filing date. However, if you are claiming an additional refund, you must wait until you have received your original refund before filing the amended return.

If your amended return will result in an additional tax payment being owed, you want to file as soon as possible.  Additional taxes paid after the original due date will accrue interest and penalties.

How Do You Keep Track Of An Amended Return

Amended returns can take up to three weeks to show up in the IRS status reporting system.  Amended returns can take up to 16 weeks for processing, and longer if there are errors.  You can track the status of your amended tax return  at or by phone at 866-464-2050.  The "Where's My Amended Return"  can track the status of an amended return for the current year and up to three years back.  To use the amended return tracker, you will need your taxpayer identification number (usually your Social Security Number), your date of birth, and your zip code.

Don't Forget

Changes to your federal return many change the outcome of your state income tax return.  Check with your state for amendment procedures on your state income tax return.

Having to file an amended tax return certainly isn't cause for celebration (well, maybe if you're getting a big refund), but it shouldn't cause dread or anguish either.  The process is fairly simple and not usually terribly time-consuming.







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