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Should You Amend a Prior Year Tax Return?

Should You Amend a Prior Year Tax Return?

You should amend a tax return if it’s been less than three years since the tax return’s due date and you find an error that will affect your tax liability. However, some errors will be caught by the IRS and won’t require an amended return.

When Not to Amend

You don’t need to amend your tax return to fix math errors or to attach missing forms. You should receive a request from the IRS for any missing W-2s, 1099s, or other forms.

If you realize that you made an error shortly after submitting your tax return, wait until you receive your refund to file your amended return.

If it’s been more than three years since the return’s due date, you can’t amend the return to receive a tax refund.

Reasons to Amend

You can amend your return to fix any of the following errors:

  • Incorrect income
  • Receiving a correct W-2 or 1099 form
  • Wrong filing status
  • Forgot to claim one or more dependents
  • Didn’t receive a tax credit you are entitled to
  • Forgot to claim certain deductions

If you aren’t sure whether you need to amend your return, ask your tax preparer. 

Filing Amended Returns

Amended returns can’t be e-filed—you’ll need to file a paper return by mail. The processing time is generally around 16 weeks, and you can use the “Where’s My Amended Return?” tracker on the IRS website to get status updates.

If you notice a mistake on one prior year return, you may want to check your other tax years as well. It’s possible that you’ve been repeatedly missing out of a deduction or credit that you should have been claiming.

You should also note that a change to your federal return may result in changes to your state tax return. Many tax software programs automatically populate information from your federal return into your state return, so you may also need to check your state’s procedures for amending returns.

If your amended return is resulting in an additional tax liability, pay as much as you can when you file your return. Talk to a tax attorney if you have a remaining unpaid balance and need to discuss your tax resolution options.

The Gartzman Law Firm can find the best tax resolution option for your situation. Use our contact form to request a consultation with an Atlanta tax resolution attorney.