Do You Need To Amend Your Income Tax Return?

Just when you have finally put last year’s tax returns away, you get a piece of mail that requires you to revisit your return and possibly amend the same.  Don’t panic.  It’s not as bad as you think. 

You may have received a notice that the IRS changed a calculation on your return.  If you agree, great – nothing to do.  If you don’t agree, then you must take the action mentioned in the notice. 

If you received a corrected Form 1099, then you may need to amend your return. 

            Here are some helpful hints if you find yourself in such a position:

  • If you are in doubt as to filing an amended return, go to the IRS website and use the interview tool under “Who should file an amended return?”.
  • If it is a math error, the IRS will usually correct the error and advise you of the results.  Usually no amended return is needed.
  • If there was a missing form, you may need only forward the missing form, but no amended return is needed.
  • If you do find that you need to amend the return, make certain you have received any refund per your original return before filing an amended return. 
  • The proper form to amend your original return is Form 1040-X.
  • If you find that a correction needs to be made, such as a different filing status or to report additional income or deductions, Form 1040-X is the form to be completed.
  • An Amended Income Tax Return – Form 1040-X cannot be filed electronically.
  • If you need to amend more than one return, you must file separate Forms 1040-X for each tax year.  Remember that if you are due a refund, there are time limitations to claim a refund.
  • If you find that after preparing the Form 1040-X you owe additional tax, consider using IRS Direct Pay to immediately make payment and reduce the interest and/or penalties that may be accruing. 

Finally, if you find you need to amend a return, don’t panic.  It’s not the worst thing in the world.

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Kay Sowa

About the Author

Kay Sowa is a paralegal in the Trusts and Estates Group at Capehart & Scatchard, P.A. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent, an Accredited Estate Planner®, and a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. She oversees the trust and estate administration practice for the firm. She is an accomplished author and lecturer who has frequently spoken on behalf of a number of organizations including the National Business Institute and the Institute of Paralegal Education.

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