How Can I Correct Mistakes On My Tax Return? by Rick Bazzani, CPA

Posted on May 03, 2019 by Rick Bazzani

Considering the amount of time and efforts taxpayers need to gather documents and prepare for the filing of their federal income tax returns, it’s no wonder that mistakes can occur.  Luckily, the IRS offers taxpayers a few options for fixing their tax return filing errors.

In general, you have three years from the date you filed an original tax return to file an amended tax return to claim a refund, or two years after you paid a tax liability, if that date is later.

When your originally filed tax return includes mathematical errors, done’ fret. The IRS will likely correct those calculations for you without requiring you to file an amended tax return. The same is true if you forgot to attach to your tax return your IRS Form W-2 or one of the required schedule.

However, if you made an error in your filing status, income, deductions or credits, you will need to complete an amended tax return on paper using IRS Form 1040X, which you may not file electronically. Rather you must put it in the mail to the IRS with other required forms and schedules. 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 avoid the imposition of penalties and interest. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this to use the IRS’s Direct Pay tool, which allows you to immediately transfer money directly to the IRS from your personal bank accounts.

There are times when you will need to make changes to several years of tax returns. In those instances, you must complete separate Forms 1040X for each year you are amending, and you should mail the amended returns 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

Information contained in this article is subject to change based on further interpretation of tax laws and subsequent guidance issued by the Internal Revenue Service.