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If a taxpayer thinks that he or she made a mistake on a return, it may be necessary to file an amended return. Amended returns are filed using Form 1040X and cannot be filed electronically. An amended return can be filed regardless of whether the change will result in a refund or in additional taxes being owed .
When Should You File an Amended Return?
It is not always necessary to file an amended federal tax return. The IRS says that it will generally catch math errors that may lead to changes being made on your behalf. Taxpayers should file an amended return if changes need to be made to the number of dependents claimed, deductions being taken or to your filing status.
You may also amend a claim to adjust your income or to account for any credits that you may have overlooked. Those who need to file multiple returns should fill out a separate Form 1040X for each year that is being amended. You can get a copy of Form 1040X from the IRS website, at a local library or by contacting the IRS by phone or any other method.
What Does Form 1040X Look Like?
Form 1040X consists of three columns that must be filled out. The first column represents the original calculations that a taxpayer made. The second line are the changes that are being made to the tax return. The final column reflects the correct values that should have originally been entered into the return. Taxpayers who have other forms or schedules to go along with the amended return should attach them to Form 1040X. If this is not done, there could be delays in the processing of an amended return. It is also important to note the tax year of the return that is
being amended on the form itself.
When Can a Return Be Amended?
Technically, a return can be amended at any time. However, taxpayers have three years from the time that they file a return to claim any refund that they are owed or two years after they have paid any tax owed, whichever is longer. It is recommended that taxpayers who are amending and believe that they owe additional tax should send in the amended return as soon as possible.
This may reduce the penalties and interest a taxpayer owes. Anyone who has already received a refund may cash their check as the IRS will send another check if additional money is owed. The IRS also says that anyone expecting a refund should wait until after they actually receive the refund to amend the return.
How Long Will it Take to Process the Amended Return?
The IRS advises that taxpayers allow for up to 12 weeks for a return to be processed. The actual processing time may depend on how many returns need to be processed and the complexity of the tax return. Additionally, incomplete returns may take longer to process as the government tries to obtain more information prior to processing the return. Processing times may also be impacted by how many returns that you need to amend at one time.
It is important that you get your tax return correct to ensure that you pay the proper amount of tax each year. Whether you are expecting a refund or owe additional tax, amending your return as soon as possible can help you get your money faster or reduce potential penalties related to late payment of taxes owed. If you need help amending your return, you can go to IRS.gov for more assistance or consult with a tax expert in your area.