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Ask About Amending Tax Returns

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By Toolkit Staff | July 22, 2013

Dear Toolkit,

Oops! I just filed my tax return electronically and arrived home to learn that my wife found a Form 1099 hidden in the pages of  a magazine. How can I amend my return to include this prodigal 1099?

Thanks,

Chagrined in Sheboygan

Dear Chagrined,

You can use Form 1040X to correct previously filed Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. And, lucky for you, the 1040X can also be used to correct a return filed electronically. You can download the form and instructions right from Toolkit.

Taxpayers should file an amended return if they discover any of the following items were reported incorrectly: filing status, dependents, total income, deductions or credits. 

But if you discover a simple math error after filing, you needn't bother to file an amended return; the IRS will fix your arithmetic for you.

If you owe additional tax, you should file Form 1040X and pay the tax as soon as possible to limit interest and penalty charges. Interest is charged on any tax not paid by the due date of the original return, without regard to extensions.

You also needn't file an amended return if you think you forgot to include forms, such as W-2s or schedules, as the IRS will send you a polite letter requesting you forward any such missing items to them.

Be sure to enter the year of the return you are amending at the top of Form 1040X. There is an area on the back of the form to explain the specific changes being made and the reason for each change. Attach any forms or schedules that are affected by the change. If you are amending more than one tax return, prepare a 1040X for each return and mail them in separate envelopes to the IRS processing center for the area in which you live. The 1040X instructions list the addresses for the centers.

As a rule, you must file Form 1040X within three years from the date you filed your original returns or from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. If you are filing to claim an additional refund, wait until you have received your original refund before filing Form 1040X. (It's OK to cash the first check while you wait for the next one.)

Normal processing time for Forms 1040X is 8 to 12 weeks from the IRS receipt date. Keep in mind that your state tax liability may be affected by a change made on your federal return. For information on how to correct your state tax return, contact your state agency.

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