Tax Day is finally over, but that doesn’t mean you’re completely off the hook from any tax return mistakes. Even if you swore your tax return was perfect, it can be easy to overlook details. And sometimes, those missed details can cause problems if not fixed immediately.
The IRS will make corrections for you – sometimes
The IRS will correct minor errors like miscalculations or unwarranted credits, then will inform you of the changes via a notice. For example, if you made a mistake in taking the Earned Income Credit (EIC), then the IRS will correct the error and alert you if you owe money. Many taxpayers make mistakes on calculating their Premium Health Tax Credit, which covers health insurance premiums based on income. The IRS will adjust the amount, but you’ll need to file Form 1095-C (Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage).
Determine if you even need to amend a tax return
When the IRS corrects your taxes and doesn’t require you to attach any forms or schedules, you’re all set – no amendments needed from your end if you agree with the changes. If you disagree with the changes, you should respond to the letter within 30 days by following the instructions on the letter. However, you must file an amended return if your filing status, income, deductions or credits (e.g. a credit you’re not qualified to receive) needs changed.
How to fix tax return mistakes with Form 1040x
Use Form 1040X (Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return) to amend your return and mail it to the address included on the instructions. Note that this must be a paper filing, not online.
Form 1040X has three Columns: A, B and C. Let’s say your original amount was $1,000 and there is an increase to $1,670. So, here is what you would fill out:
- Column A shows the original figure before the amendments (i.e. $1,000).
- Column B is to report the amount of increase or decrease (i.e. $670), to which you explain in Part III.
- Column C is where you report the final figure (i.e. $1,670).
- Part III is reserved for an explanation of the changes that you are making. You can also attach any needed additional tax forms with your amended return.
Pay anything you may now owe
If you owe taxes after you’ve corrected the errors, you must pay the due amount before the filing deadline. After the deadline, the IRS will treat the taxes owed as back taxes and start charging penalties and interest on any delinquent balance. It adds up quickly, so be sure to stay on top of your game. If you can’t afford the owed amount, call a tax relief professional.
Providing proof to the IRS
When you don’t agree with the IRS’s math, there may be more proof needed on your end. The IRS may send you Notice CP2000 to outline the errors and additional tax. If you don’t address it, they will assess the proposed taxes.
Sometimes, tax discrepancies can be a symptom of ID theft. Use Form 14039 (Identity Theft Affidavit) to report IRS records with falsely earned income amounts. A service like TaxSafe™ can help monitor your IRS account health and ID theft to prevent, catch, or quickly deal with these types of scam situations.
Double-check and then triple-check everything
Nobody’s perfect – not even the IRS. Be sure to check all math, paperwork, (that you put in a secure place!) and amended documents that address tax return mistakes. If you’re not sure what to do next, contact your tax preparer or a tax professional who can help you take the next steps with tax problems.