Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and first Secretary of the Treasury summed up this problem clearly; he believed that in the common life, correcting a mistake, even at the beginning, was not an easy task. Nobody likes to admit a mistake, especially in tax returns.

Tax preparation consultants tell their clients that filing an amended return is the equivalent of waving a red flag to the Internal Revenue Service.

What should be done?

That depends on each case, such as size, type, number and reasons of the errors. The process may seem relatively simple, but appearances can be misleading. What might seem like a simple change can alter the entire tax return and affect many pages. Even so, most taxpayers should not be afraid of filing a corrected tax return.

The reasons for making an amendment vary considerably, such as forgetting to report a type of income or not having claimed certain credits or tax deductions.

There are many different reasons why you must do a tax return correction:

Q: Can I file a corrected tax return electronically?

A: No. You have to file the correction on a paper form.

Q: How fast does the IRS handle the amended returns?

A: Not too fast. It could take up to 16 weeks to process amended declarations. However, the process often takes more time.

Q: Should taxpayers bother to correct routine mathematical errors?

A: The IRS says that you can correct math errors in a tax return. But in such cases, there is no need to amend your tax return. However, the IRS recommends you to file an amended tax return if there is a change in your marital status, income, deductions or credit.

Q: Suppose I want to correct errors in my tax returns from different years. Can I do it all on in one 1040X form?

A: No. File a separate form 1040X for each year. The IRS wants you to submit each form in a separate envelope. The IRS recommends including the original report of the year you are correcting.

Q: Can I solve a single error and ignore all my other errors?

A: No. If you file an amended tax return, you must correct all known errors. You cannot choose what you want to fix.

Q: Are taxpayers required by law to file amended returns to the IRS for correcting errors?

A: No, but millions of people do it anyway because they do not want to have problems with the IRS.


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