Amended Tax Returns: Did You File With A Mistake?

February 18, 2013 : Jenna Bromberg

Editor’s Note: If there is a mistake on a tax return already filed, tune in! We’ve got some answers for you. Mistakes on taxes already filed can happen for a number of reasons…

Sometimes, I leave the grocery store without remembering to pick up an item or two on my list, or I book a plane ticket online and forget to plug in the discount code I’ve kept saved for weeks.

And, sometimes, people file their own tax returns and forget to include a crucial piece of information that could significantly adjust their tax refund (or alter their tax bill).

“What Happens If I File My Taxes Wrong?”

If you question “What happens if I file my taxes wrong” and fear the worst, all hope is not lost! If you’ve realized you’ve forgotten something or you’ve entered the wrong information on your tax return, it can be corrected – even if you’ve already filed.

tax return mistake

To Correct a Tax Return Mistake, File an Amendment

Your next move: file an amended tax return. Simply put, an amended return is usually filed because something was incomplete, incorrect or omitted from the original tax return. It should be filed if you forgot to claim credits and deductions, or need to correct filing status and income – whether the result is a tax refund or a tax bill.

If you are claiming a refund, the deadline for filing an amended return is generally three years after the date filed or the original deadline, or two years after taxes were paid for that year – whichever is later.

If you discover a “taxable” mistake or omission on a tax return you already filed, you should amend as soon as possible. Depending on the size of the tax bill, you could reduce or avoid penalties. If you wait for the IRS or state to find the error or omission, the interest and penalties will continue to grow.

If you e-filed your original return, give it time to be processed before you amend. Also, if you are expecting a tax refund, wait to receive it before you submit your amended return.

“How Do I Change a Mistake on a Tax Return Already Filed?”

There is a special form: you will use Form 1040-X to correct any previously filed 1040. Use the Form 1040-X for the year that you need to change. Keep in mind that Form 1040-X cannot be filed electronically; amended returns must be mailed to the IRS.

Check the Form 1040-X instructions for your state’s IRS Service Center address where you will mail the amended return. But, if you are amending because you received a notice from the IRS, the amended return should go to the address indicated on the notice, and the notice should be referenced in the amended return.

Help for Mistakes on Tax Returns Already Filed

So, next time you’re thinking “What if I made a mistake on my taxes?” remember your issue can be resolved in a few simple steps.

If you realize you need to correct something on your tax return, we can help. Take our quick assessment and find out if a tax return review is right for you. Or, make an appointment now with an H&R Block tax professional for help filing an amended return.

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Jenna Bromberg

Jenna Bromberg

Past Contributor

Jenna helped manage the national social media programs at Houlihan's Restaurants, Inc. and was a copywriter for all three brands in the HRI family before joining H&R Block.

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