How to File an Amended Tax Return
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The most important part of Form 1040X is Part III on the second page. This is where you explain the changes being made to your previously filed tax return. Clear and concise explanations can help the IRS process your amended return more efficiently. You can prepare a separate statement if you need additional space.
For example, let s say that you forgot to include wages from a W-2. Your Part III explanation might read as follows:
I am reporting additional wages and additional withholding from a W-2 I forgot to include on my previous tax return. This resulted in changes to my adjusted gross income. taxable income, total tax and refund. Enclosed is a new 1040, as corrected, with a copy of the W-2 attached.
Try to be as concise as possible and point the IRS agent to the specific changes you re making and where he can find proof of those revisions in your supporting documentation.
Some Things to Watch Out For
Indicate the tax year of the return you re amending at the top of Form 1040X. This is a generic form and can be used for any tax year. You ll have to submit separate Forms 1040X for each year if you want to revise several tax returns.
Now check the numbers and your math, and check them again.
Calculations for your refund or the amount you owe the IRS go on lines 17 through 22. If you received a larger refund on your original tax return than you should have, you ll have to reimburse the IRS. Enclose a check for the difference. If you re due an additional refund, you can expect it to arrive in approximately eight to 12 weeks. Refunds from amended returns cannot be issued via direct deposit .
You also have the option of applying some or all of your refund to next year s estimated tax. Just indicate the tax year to which you want the IRS to apply payments on line 22.
Sign and date the amended return. If an accountant helps you prepare the amendment, the accountant must sign and date the amended return as well.
Where to File Your Amended Tax Return
Mail your amendment to the same IRS Service Center that processed your original tax return. If you efiled that return or don t remember where you mailed it, you can simply send the amended return to one of the IRS Service Centers shown on pages 4 and 5 of the Instructions for Form 1040X.
What Happens When You File an Amended Return?
The IRS Service Center will manually process your amended return. It will check to make sure your explanations are sufficient and that you have documented the changes you made to your tax return. If the IRS needs more explanation or documentation, you ll receive a letter asking for the specific information needed.
Do Amended Returns Trigger an Audit?
So far, there s no conclusive evidence that an amended tax return will trigger an IRS audit. As mentioned, the IRS does check amended tax returns more thoroughly than original tax returns, but if you clearly explain why you re correcting your tax return and if you back it up with proper documentation, the IRS is likely to process your amended return more efficiently and without fuss. The IRS agent can look up most corroborating information on the IRS computer, but it will be easier and more efficient if he can see the documentation right there with your tax return.
Resources on the IRS Web site