When You’ve Made a Mistake on Your Tax Return

Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes, we make mistakes on our tax returns. Even after spending many hours gathering forms, records, and receipts, reading about every deduction and credit, and crunching each number twice, the best of us can make an error. If this happens, my first recommendation is to take a deep breath.

While many people fear the IRS, sometimes that fear takes on irrational turns. Let me reassure you that a good faith mistake on your tax return is not going to result in the IRS bringing its full weight to bear on you. Instead, you have options.

First, if there are obvious mathematical or clerical mistakes on your tax return, it is possible that the IRS catches the mistake, makes necessary adjustments, and accepts your tax return. In this scenario, you do not need to take any further action regarding that return.

Filing Form 1040X

If your tax error is more significant or the IRS did not catch it, you may need to file a Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. This must be filed within three years of when you originally filed your erroneous return. The following are some reasons to file an amended return:

  1. You realize that you significantly overpaid or underpaid your taxes. Overpaying, of course, means that you are owed money. Underpaying could have serious interest and penalty implications that you want to address sooner rather than later.
  2. There was a change in your filing status that was not reflected on your return, such as a recent marriage or divorce. Or you reported or omitted a dependent.
  3. You over-reported or under-reported your income.
  4. You claimed improper deductions or credits, or you missed significant deductions and credits.

Preparing your 1040X involves completing three comparative columns, as well as the requirement of an explanation for the changes you are proposing. Column A reflects the numbers you originally reported. Column C reflects your proposed changes. And Column B reflects the difference between the two. If you believe that you have made an error and owe a significant amount of money, you should contact a tax attorney for immediate assistance, as interest and penalties may be applied to your obligation.

If you need a tax attorney, contact the Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas. I have provided honest, no-nonsense advice to clients having IRS tax issues for over twenty years. I understand how important it is to provide prompt, professional representation so that the IRS takes you seriously. Contact The Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas at 847-392-5893 for an initial consultation or visit our website today.

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