How Can I Correct Errors On My Tax Return? by Rick D. Bazzani, CPA

Posted on November 11, 2021 by Rick Bazzani

Considering the rapid pace at which tax laws change and the amount of time and effort taxpayers spend preparing to file their federal income tax returns, it’s no wonder that mistakes can occur. Luckily, the IRS offers a few options for taxpayers to correct errors or make other changes to their originally filed returns.

To claim a tax refund, you generally have three years from the date of your original tax-return filing to file an amended tax return or within two years after you paid a tax liability, whichever date is later.

If you are expecting a tax refund, the IRS advises you wait until it processes your original tax return before filing an amended return. For example, the IRS is automatically refunding money to eligible taxpayers who reported unemployment compensation on their original tax returns, before the enactment of the American Rescue Plan, which allows eligible taxpayers to exclude from their 2020 taxable income the first $10,200 in unemployment benefits they received last year. The agency expects to take more than 21 days to issue refunds for some 2020 tax returns that require review, including those related to incorrect recovery rebate credits or returns that used 2019 income to figure the earned income tax credit and additional child tax credit.

If your original tax return includes mathematical errors, do not fret. The IRS will likely correct those calculations for you without requiring you to file an amended return. Similarly, the IRS may not require you to amend your original tax return if you forgot to attach certain forms or schedules, including your W-2, Wage and Tax Statement. However, if you made an error in your filing status, income, deductions or credits, you will need to complete an amended tax return, either on paper or electronically using IRS Form 1040X and attach copies of any forms or schedules affected by the change. The IRS recommends that taxpayers expecting to receive a refund from their originally filed tax return wait until they receive that money back from the agency before filing an amended tax return.

If an amended tax return results in a higher tax liability for you, be prepared to pay the tax as soon as possible to limit penalties and interest charges. Should you need to make changes to several years of tax returns, complete separate Forms 1040X for each year you are amending, and mail them separately to the IRS in such a way that you can track and confirm the agency received each one.

The advisors and accountants with Berkowitz Pollack Brant work with U.S. and foreign citizens and their businesses to develop tax-efficient solutions that meet regulatory compliance and evolving financial needs.

About the Author: Rick D. Bazzani, CPA, is a senior manager with Berkowitz Pollack Brant’s Tax Services practice, where he provides individuals with a broad range of tax-efficient estate-, trust- and gift-planning services.  He can be reached in the CPA firm’s Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., office at (954) 712-7000 or at