The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has made it relatively easy to amend or fix issues with tax returns. Like many other agencies, they provide the requisite forms online and even allow taxpayers, in some cases, to submit their forms online.
But this still leaves taxpayers wondering how the process works.
How does the amended tax return process work?
The IRS stipulates that a taxpayer will need to submit a separate form, Form 1040-X, for each amended tax year. This form has three columns: The first instructs the taxpayer to include the original return, the second the correct numbers, and the third the difference between the two.
When do I need to amend my returns?
The IRS is generally comfortable with a taxpayer fixing a minor tax error or even accepting returns that may not have all the required forms or schedules. If this is the concern, you may be okay without sending in an amended return.
Instances when the IRS encourage taxpayers file an amended return include the following:
- Change in filing status. You will need to file an amended return if there was a change in your filing status or if you chose the wrong option.
- Inaccurate income. It is also a good idea when you misstated your income. A failure to accurately report income can fuel allegations of tax crimes.
- Inaccurate deductions or credits. The agency also recommends making changes if you claimed the wrong deductions or credits or inappropriately made those claims.
How long does the process take?
Once you file your amended return, the IRS can take some time to get around to processing it. Although an exact timeframe isn’t stated, the agency has stated that it came take up to four months or even longer.