Tax Tip: Amended Returns

Oops! You've discovered an error after your tax return has been filed. What should you do? You may need to amend your return.

The IRS usually corrects math errors or requests forms (such as W-2s) or schedules left out. In these instances, do not amend your return. However, do file an amended return if any of the following were reported incorrectly:

  • your filing status
  • your total income
  • your deductions or credits

Use Form 1040X, "Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return," to correct a previously filed Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, or electronically filed return. If you are filing to claim an additional refund, wait until you have received your original refund. You may cash that check while waiting on any additional refund. If you owe additional tax for 2000, you should file Form 1040X and pay the tax by April 16, 2001 to avoid any penalty and interest.

Generally, to claim a refund, you must file Form 1040X within three years from the date you filed your original return or within two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.

If the changes involve another schedule or form, attach a corrected copy of the form to the 1040X. If you are filing more than one amended return, be sure to mail each in a separate envelope to the IRS center for the area in which you live. The 1040X instructions list the addresses for the centers. You may download forms and publications from the IRS Web site or order them by calling 1-800-829-3676.

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