How Do I Know if I Should Amend My Tax Return?
Have you ever began clearing the clutter after you filed your taxes and found a 1099 or W-2 for that side job you did for a short time. Or maybe you received a K-1 after the tax deadline which is a common occurrence.
Whether you forgot, transposed numbers, or you received essential paperwork after you filed, you can still amend your tax return, but here are some things you need to know about whether you should amend or not.
You don’t need to amend if you:
- E-filed your tax return and it was rejected. You can simply go into your tax return and add the missing info and resubmit it.
- Made a small math error. The IRS will correct small math errors, however using tax software prevents math errors.
- Forgot to attach forms and schedules. The IRS will request them.
You can amend your tax return if:
- Your tax return was already accepted by the IRS. Don’t amend your tax return unless it has been accepted by the IRS.
- There is a change in filing status, income, dependents, credits, or deductions.
- You are expecting a tax credit or refund. You have to amend within 3 years, after the date you filed your original tax return or within 2 years after the date you paid the tax whichever is later.
Legally married same-sex couples may also want to consider amending the last 3 years tax returns as a married couple as a result of the DOMA ruling if you are expecting a tax refund for those years. TurboTax has an online tool to help you figure out if it’s beneficial for same-sex couples to amend prior year’s tax returns.
Although you can fill out an amended tax return with tax software, you cannot e-file an amended return. An amended tax return must be physically mailed to the IRS.
There is a limited amount of time that you have to file your amended tax return. You need to file your amended tax return, within 2 years from the date of which you paid your tax or within 3 years from the date of which you filed your original tax return which is now being amended.
Deductions and Credits
If there are any tax deductions or credits that you didn’t realize you qualified for, you can reclaim these tax benefits by submitting an amended tax return.
The same is also true if you have mistakenly applied credits and/or deductions that you haven’t qualified for. No matter whether you’ll get more or pay more, these oversights should be corrected with an amended tax return.
Dependents and Filing Status
The last two areas that may necessitate an amended return to the IRS are the dependents that you’ve claimed (or failed to claim), and your filing status.
As for dependents, the situation is similar to that of the tax deductions and credits oversight. If you’ve missed claiming a dependent on your original tax return or if you mistakenly claimed an unqualified dependent, you need to file an amended return to correct your tax return.
As for filing status, the IRS will allow a status switch from married-filing separate to jointly, however switching from married-filing jointly to married-filing separately is not allowed once the tax due date has passed.
Individuals are, however, given the freedom to change their filing status from widow/widower to head of household, if their situation fits the criteria.