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You Can Correct Mistakes on your Tax Return by Nancy M. Valdes, CPA

Posted on June 05, 2018 by

If you realize that a tax return that you already filed for any of the prior three years contains mistakes, do not fear. The IRS offers taxpayers a simple process for making corrections and reporting information that you may have mistakenly omitted.

Here is what you need to know about filing amended tax returns.

  • Do not amend to correct math errors, which the IRS will correct for you automatically.
  • Do not amend if you forgot to attach tax forms, such as a Form W-2 or 1099. The IRS will mail you a request for any missing forms that it requires.
  • Amend to change filing status or to correct income, deductions or credits on original tax returns.
  • Use IRS Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to correct an originally filed tax return. You may not file Form 1040X electronically; it must be mailed along with other supporting IRS forms and schedules to the IRS at the appropriate address.
  • If you are amending a return for more than one tax year, complete and mail separate Forms 1040X for each year and be sure to track them to ensure that the IRS receives them. The agency can take up to 16 weeks to process amended tax returns.
  • Pay any additional tax that you owe as soon as possible to avoid IRS penalties and interest.
  • You have three years from the date you filed an original tax return to file Form 1040X to claim a refund, or within two years from the date you paid a tax liability, if that date is later.
  • Taxpayers who will owe more tax should file Form 1040X and pay the tax as soon as possible to avoid penalties and interest. They should consider using IRS Direct Pay to pay any tax directly from a checking or savings account at no cost.
  • If you expect to receive a refund from the most recent tax returns you just filed, wait until after you receive the refund before filing an amended tax return.

About the Author: Nancy M. Valdes, CPA, is a senior manager with Berkowitz Pollack Brant’s Tax Services practice, where she works with U.S. and foreign-based entrepreneurs and closely held businesses to manage cash flow, protect assets and maintain tax efficiency.  She can be reached at the CPA firm’s Miami office at (305) 379-7000 or via email at

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