Should You Amend Your Tax Returns?

Chad Silver

Chad Silver

Managing Partner of Silver Tax Group, author of the book "Stop the IRS". Practicing a variety of tax issues, regulations, laws and rights. Specializing exclusively on tax matters involving IRS audits, negotiation, settlements & compromises.

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All You Need to Know About  When to Amend Your Tax Return

On behalf of Silver Tax Group posted in Tax Crimes on Tuesday, March 27, 2018.

Michigan taxpayers sometimes make mistakes when filing returns, but only become aware of the mistake at a later date. Some taxpayers choose to amend their returns when this happens. But whether actually amending your return is the correct course of action depends on your individual circumstances.

In some instances, errors on returns are due to errors in making calculations or forgetting to include particular forms when filing your taxes. Whether you should amend primarily depends upon what sort of information requires correction, and what your intent was when filing.

How To Recognize The Need for an Amendment

Amendment of a return may not be necessary in fixing a mathematical error. Generally the IRS will correct such errors for you. Likewise, if you failed to supply a form such as a schedule or W-2, amendment may not be necessary. The IRS often processes returns without such forms or will ask you for the form at a later date.

If you’re struggling to understand whether or not you should file a return, don’t worry. You’re not alone. The IRS has a handy tool you can use to help you determine if you need to file an amended return. 

Should You “Supersede”?

In some circumstances, it is possible to file with the IRS a “superseding” return. This means filing a return in place of the original filing. This is only allowable if you file the superseding return prior to the due date, however. In doing this, you also run the risk of causing confusion among officials regarding which return is legitimate.

Timing Requirements of Amending a Return

There are also timing requirements surrounding the filing of an amended return. Such a return requires filing within either three years of the original filing or two years from whenever you actually paid the taxes. The later of the two dates is what the IRS will look at as a deadline.

Filing an amended return does not restart the three-year limitations period. This is important to remember if your amended return shows you owe even more money. In such a situation, the IRS will assess what you owe within 60 days of the amended return filing.

When to Expect Your Amended Return Back

Amended returns can take a while to get back to you. Typically, amended returns should be back in your hands in 16 weeks. 

If you’ve passed the 16 week mark and are wondering where your return is, you can contact the IRS to find out what happened to your return. 

If you’ve had multiple amended returns in the past you can check for past amendments as well. This shouldn’t typically be needed, but for rare circumstances it can clear up an amendment mystery. 

Delays in Receiving Your Amended Return

Some situations can cause delays in receiving your amended return back. 

A few of these situations include:

  • Your amended return has errors
  • You didn’t complete your amended return
  • You forgot to sign the return
  • The IRS requested more information from you to complete processing
  • Your amendment includes a Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation
  •  Identity theft or fraud impacted your amended return

These issues are quick fixes, and require a little more of your time to get your return back in your hands. 

Some other situations can also cause delays, however. These instances may be:

  • If your return needs to be sent to a specialized department
  • The IRS bankruptcy area needs to clear your return
  • A revenue office must approve the return 
  • Your amendment requests a reconsideration or appeal of an IRS decision

Not sure if those situations applies to you? You can relax. The IRS will let you know if more information is needed to properly process your return. 

Were you aware of inaccuracies when filing the original return?

If you were aware that your original return contained inaccuracies, you need to understand the consequences of filing an amended return. While filing an amended return can set the record straight, it is also possible that you may alert the IRS to the fact you filed a fraudulent return. This could lead to civil or criminal charges regarding fraud and tax evasion.

We suggest that you speak to an experienced tax attorney in such circumstances. You may be facing large fines and even jail time when facing criminal tax charges. The IRS has tremendous power and discretion in dealing with such matters.

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