How often as children playing with friends have we called out for the chance to do our turn over again. Maybe we’ll get a better result this time. It’s frustrating that as adults we can’t do over events. But with our income taxes, we have a chance to do over our tax return.
When a taxpayer needs to change the return they originally filed, they can do just that on form 1040X. An amended return can be filed for income or expenses which were omitted on the original return, to change filing status or dependents or to take advantage of missed credits. An amended return might also be used to respond to an IRS notice.
No matter the reason, the procedure is the same. Form 1040X is used to report the changes. The first page has three columns. The left column shows what was on the return the taxpayer originally filed. The center column documents the changes being made. The right hand column shows the corrected figures. On the second page, there is an area to list name and SSN for any dependents being added to the return and a place to explain what changes are being made.
The 1040X can be a little tricky so a few suggestions.
- Make sure you have a copy of the original return saved before you start making changes. Once you have completed the amended return, save that return separately.
- If the amended return shows a refund, it has to be for an open year or you won’t get they money. You have 3 years from the tax return’s due date or 2 years from when the tax was paid to request a refund.
- If you end up owing on the 1040X, don’t be tempted to hold off filing the 1040X to see if the IRS catches the error. Waiting for the IRS to contact you could mean higher interest and penalties.
- Prepare one 1040X for each year and mail them separately.
- This might be a good time to get a tax pro to help you. If you choose to do it yourself, take it slow and follow the instructions. It might be easier to do a 1040 return incorporating the changes first. That way you have the information you need for the left and right column and can easily calculate the adjustment column.
- While you don’t need to send a full copy of revised return, you do need to send a copy of the supporting documents and forms for you changes. For example, if you forgot to take advantage of the education credits on your original return complete Form 8863 and include that form with your amended return.
- Amended returns still have to be mailed in to the IRS. They also take longer to process because they aren’t electronically filed. Give the IRS at least 6 to 8 weeks. New this year is the ability to track any amended return for this year or the last 3 years by using the “Where’s My Amended Return?” on the IRS website or by calling 866-464-2050. You’ll need the primary Social Security Number (1st one on the return), the date of birth for that person and their zip code.
- Don’t forget to amend your state returns. The IRS and the state revenue departments compare notes about what each has on file. Again, take it slow as you prepare the return. Each state has their own format and many require a different form for resident amended returns as to non-resident amended returns. Also, check to see what documentation your state wants sent with the amended return. Generally, they want a full copy of the amended return you sent to the IRS.
You can get a do over on your tax return if you need to make changes to a return that has already been filed. Use a 1040X and don’t forget you state return too.