Can I amend my own tax return?

If you’ve learned that one or more of your prior tax returns contains errors, you’ll likely need to file an amended tax return.  An amended tax return is something you’ll file with the IRS, and once filed, the amended return will fix prior errors.  If you (or your accountant) make another mistake on your amended return, you may need to amend the return a second time.

Let us explain.

Several years ago, we spoke with a woman who told us about an experience she had with her husband’s accountant. At the time they were married, he was a foreign national, living abroad, who needed to file a US tax return for the prior year because he received income from a US-based company.

The accountant he used made several clerical errors on his return, which resulted in him owing money to the IRS. When a new accountant amended the return, they fixed the clerical errors, but they mistakenly indicated he was a United States resident during the tax year in question. Since he was not a US resident (nor had he ever been a resident of the United States), they learned they’d have to file a second amended return to fix the second accountant’s mistake.

Suffice to say, filing an amended return can be complicated, and it’s not something you should attempt to handle yourself.

Form 1040-X

If you need to make a change to your tax return, you’ll need to file form 1040-X with the IRS. Also, of note, is that if you need to amend more than one tax return, you’ll need to file one 1040-X for each tax return that you need to have fixed. You’ll also want to send the amended returns separately, i.e., one return per envelope.

If you suspect you owe money to the IRS, you’ll want to file an amended return (and pay what you owe) as quickly as possible. This will help limit any additional interest and penalty charges. On the other hand, if you think you’re due a greater refund than initially suspected (i.e., if you file your 2021 taxes and you’re told you’ll receive a $6,000 refund, but after you file, you learn a mistake was made and you’re owed a $7,000 refund), you’ll want to wait to amend your return until you receive your first refund.

In closing

If you suspect you need to file an amended tax return, or you’d like to have your prior returns checked for errors, we can help. Call Hughes, Snell and Co., PA today to speak with an expert.