If you have made a mistake in a previous tax return filing, you can “correct” the situation by amending a return. In other words, an amended return is for taxpayers who need to make a change or adjustment on a return they ALREADY filed. However, realize you cannot amend a tax return if it has been three years since you last filed it or two years from when you paid the tax (whichever comes later). Here are the top five things every taxpayer should know about amending your federal tax return.
1) If you are looking to amend a Federal tax return you will need to use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. This form can be utilized to correct filed Forms 1040, 1040EZ or 1040A. Make sure when you complete the form to put the year you actually want to amend.
2) A taxpayer should amend a tax return if deductions, dependents, total income, or filing status were reported incorrectly. Please note that math errors are not a reason to amend a return as they can be easily corrected by the IRS.
3) If you need to amend a tax return for many years, you will still need to fill out Form 1040X for each year you are amending. For example, if you did not file for 2001, and 2002, you will need to fill out Form 1040X twice – once for 2001 and once for 2002. Make sure to mail only one 1040X per envelope.
4) Make sure to send your amended return to the correct IRS address which is determined by the area that you live in. The addressees are listed on Form 1040X. Include any other forms or schedules if needed by attaching them to Form 1040X.
5) If you still owe money for 2008 (you filed but did not pay), and you need to make a change to your previous filing, then again you can use Form 1040X but you should pay the taxes you owe or part of the balance because interest and penalties will accrue.