Did you file your tax return only to realize later that you made a mistake? Are you panicking now not knowing what to do and wondering what kind of consequences you could be facing? Relax, and take a deep breath. This happens more often than you might think and in most cases you can correct your return by filing an IRS correction 1040X form. Here is what you need to know.
When You Need To File A 1040X Form
If you now realize that you made a mistake when you filed your 2011 tax return, you may need to file a 1040X or you may need to do nothing. If you just made an addition or subtraction error, don’t fret. The IRS will automatically correct those mistakes and adjust your return for you. Also, if you receive a notice from the IRS that they need additional information to complete your return like a missing schedule, you do not need to fill out the 1040X form. You will just need to send the data they have requested.
You will need to file a 1040X if you realize that you made other errors on your return that will alter your tax responsibility. These errors might include filing under the wrong status, forgetting to include a W-2 or other income that needed to be reported, you received a corrected 1099 that will change your return, you missed an exemption or credit you were entitled to or you need to claim an additional dependent or remove a dependent you were not entitled to claim.
Filling Out the Form and What to Include
If you have determined that you will need to file a correction then print Form 1040X from the IRS website. When filling out the form make sure you include your name, social security number, check the box for what year you are amending and carefully read and answer the remainder of the questions. According to the IRS site you should include a copy of your original return when filing and make sure you have included any additional documentation necessary for them to process your correction. This might include a missing W-2 or an updated 1099. It is important to note that you must now mail in you form as a 1040X cannot be submitted electronically.
Tips for Filing Your 1040X Form
Here are some tips to follow when filing a 1040X IRS form.
- If you need to correct more than one year you will need to fill out a form for each year you are making a correction to and mail the forms separately.
- Make sure you check the box for what year you are amending at the top of the form. The IRS will not be able to process your correction if the right box is not checked.
- If you were due a refund on your original return, wait until you have received it before mailing in your 1040X form.
- If you owe additional money to the IRS fill out and return a 1040X form as soon as you can and be sure to include payment. The sooner the IRS receives payment the less likely you are to owe large penalty fees.
- Know it can take up to three months for the IRS to process your correction.
Tips to Help You Avoid Having to File a Correction
While there are some errors that really are not preventable, a good number of tax filing mistakes can be avoided. Make sure you take the time to thoroughly proof your tax return, checking for errors like a misspelled name, incorrect social security number or checking the wrong filing status. Finally, make sure you carefully check to ensure you have taken all deductions and credits you are entitled to and that you have received all of your supporting tax documentation like W-2’s before filing.