Forgot To Include A Deduction? Did Not Pick Up All Your Income?
Considerations On Filing An Amended Return
If you filed a tax return only to later realize that it was not complete or you did something incorrect, you can correct this by filing a Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.
But before you proceed, consider these essential facts:
1. Manner Of Filing. Regardless of whether you e-filed your Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return or filed a paper form, an amended return can only be filed in paper form.
2. Explanation For Filing. Form 1040X includes an explanation section where you explain why the tax return is being amended. This could be due to a change in your filing status, income, deductions or credits.
3. Timing For Filing. Form 1040X must be filed within three years from the date you filed your original tax return or within two years of the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. If the IRS received funds though a levy or applied an overpayment from another tax year that is considered to be a date you paid the tax and the two-year period will start from that date.
4. Separate Submissions For Each Tax Year. If you are amending more than one tax return, prepare Form 1040X for each year and mail them to the IRS in separate envelopes. Be sure to enter the year of the return you are amending at the top of Form 1040X.
You normally do not need to file an amended return to correct math errors. Instead the IRS computers will automatically make those changes for you and send you a notice by mail of the result of the change. If you now owe a balance to the IRS, that notice will include a payment voucher to send in payment. If you now have a refund due to you, the IRS will send out separately from the notice a refund check.
If you are filing an amended tax return to claim an additional refund, wait until you have received your original tax refund before filing Form 1040X. However, you need not delay cashing your original refund. If you are due a refund, the IRS will pay you interest on the amount of the refund. Of course, next year the IRS will send you a Form 1099-INT reflecting the interest paid, so you will have to report this income on your tax return.
In case you forgot to attach your W-2’s or other required tax reporting documents, no need to worry as the IRS computers will match up the amounts reported on your tax return to this third party tax reporting information. If the IRS computers find a discrepancy, the IRS will send a notice by mail which will require you to respond with the requested documents or an explanation.
Keep in mind that amended returns take up to 12 weeks to process. You can track the status of your amended tax return three weeks after you file with the IRS’s tool called, “Where’s My Amended Return?”. The automated tool is available on ww.IRS.gov. You can track the status of your amended return for the current year and up to three prior years.
Possible Adverse Considerations:
1. Audit Risk. The IRS requires paper submissions of Form 1040X because unlike original tax returns processed by a computer, amended tax returns are examined by a person. Although you only changed one item on the return, the examiner can, and frequently
does, examine all the items on the return. If there is anything questionable, the examiner could send a notice requesting more information or refer this return for an audit.
2. Imposition Of Penalties. If you file an amended return and you owe additional tax, you will be assessed penalties and interest on the amount due. You may want to just pay the additional tax due and wait for a tax bill that includes interest and penalties. You will then have an accurate amount to pay off the liability. Another of paying only the tax due is that if you have a valid reason for the late payment penalty, you may appeal to the IRS for an abatement of the penalty. Just keep in mind that interest is not abatable and a direct function on how much is owed. If you are not successful in getting the penalty abated, not only do you have the penalty to pay but also the underlying interest on the account.
What Should You Do?
When you did not include all deductions and credits in your original tax return, it usually makes sense to proceed with the submission of an amended tax return. But where you failed to include all of your income and/or overstated your deductions, you should consider meeting with tax counsel first as your filing of the amended tax returns could be used as an admission of guilt that the IRS could base criminal charges or a 75% civil fraud penalty. Let our tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. in Orange County, San Jose and other California locations evaluate your situation and come up with a Tax Resolution Development Plan to get the best possible outcome.