Sometimes, additional information may avail itself long after you have filed your tax return. However, there’s a grace period for filing amended tax returns. Amended tax returns should be filed within three years after the original tax return. It could be that you didn’t have a K-1 form or you’ve realized you qualify for some deductions and tax credits. This warrants an amended tax return. So if you’re wondering how to file an amended tax return, here are some tips to guide you.
1. Gather the necessary documents
You just don’t want to jump straight into filing an amended tax. Gather all the necessary documents such as proof of your amendments to avoid unnecessary delays. You should also have your original return to guide you on what you’re correcting. It will need to be referenced.
2. Collect the right forms together
The IRS maintains a database for all previous year’s filed returns. So you can easily access all the right forms. Note that you don’t need the whole original tax return, but only the areas that need to be corrected.
3. Fill form 1040X
Amended tax returns are filed on the Form 1040X, and only on paper. So even if you filed your original tax online, your amended tax return will be done on paper. The form 1040X has simple to follow instructions, and you can just copy some of the information on the original tax return while correcting the areas that need correction. There’s also space to explain the reason for amending your tax return. Keep it brief and honest.
4. Avoid cherry-picking
You cannot claim to amend your tax only for areas that give you a refund and disregard the areas that increase your tax liability. This will only flag your amendment and prolong the process. So ensure all areas are covered and everything that needs amending is amended.
5. Some errors don’t need amending
There’s no need to correct mathematical errors on your original tax return. This is because the IRS usually corrects such errors. Even lack of form W-2 does not warrant amending your tax return. The IRS can still process your tax return without it unless requested. Furthermore, certain parts of your original return cannot be amended. For instance, you cannot change “married filing joint” to “married filing separate” after the due date.
6. Submit the amended return
Once you’re satisfied all errors have been corrected and the information has been updated, you can send your amended tax return to the IRS. Make sure to double check that you’ve attached all the necessary documents. It takes the IRS 8 to 12 weeks to process your return. So give them time before asking about your amended tax return status.