HELP AMENDING YOUR TAX RETURN - 8 TIPS TO MAKE THE FIX QUICK

amending-tax-return

You’ve filed your taxes, received your refund (or made your payment), and breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you won’t have to deal with taxes for another year….and then you receive a 1099, W2 or other tax document in the mail!  Great! Time to panic – your taxes are wrong, you already filed, what you do now!

Amend your return. It might sound like a pain but it’s really not that hard. And it’s much easier than might think. Below are 8 tips to help you quickly and easily amend your tax return.

  1. 1040X - The first think you need is the right tax form. It’s called a 1040X and located here on the IRS website. Remember this form cannot be e-filed, I anticipate this in the future but for now be prepared to us mail (We use certified mail so you can track it and prove the IRS received it).
  2. Filling out the Form - Ok you’ve sharpened your pencil and have your 1040X. Now just fill out the form. In column A you input the information from your original return. Column B is where your changes are made. And Column C is where the correct amount is listed. It’s really that easy. Especially if you are using tax software as they generally fill out the columns for you. Don’t forget to write a simple explanation of your changes at the bottom of the form.  Then just sign, date, and send it in. Also, if you are amending your Federal Return you probably need to amend your state return as well. Minnesota’s form M1X is found here.
  3. Why Amend your Return – Ok slow down there, before you fill out the form let’s make sure you have to do the additional work. You should amend your return if you are changing your filing status, dependents, total income, deductions, and credits. (so just about everything).  But the IRS will catch and correct most math errors and missing forms when processing your original return. No need to amend just for this.
  4. Other Schedules and Forms – If your amendment affects a certain schedule like Schedule E or C then you should include these forms with your 1040X.
  5. Additional Refund – If you are filing to claim an additional refund wait until you receive your original refund before filing your 1040X. You can cash the first check while waiting for your additional refund check.
  6. Additional Payment – If you owe additional tax as a result of the amendment you should file the 1040X as soon as possible and send payment. This will limit any additional interest and penalties.
  7. Time Limits – You can claim a refund within three years from the date you filed your original return. Or within two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.
  8. Procession Time – The “normal” processing time for an amended return is 8-12 weeks. So be patient. You can always check the status of your amended refund here.

PJF Tax can help you amend your tax return and will even receive past returns for mistakes. Just reach out for a meeting or a quote!

OOPS! COMMON ERRORS WHEN PREPARING A TAX RETURN

common-tax-errors

It’s a good feeling when you complete your tax return. Now the last thing to do is hit the submit button and send it off to the IRS….not so fast! Check out these common errors first to avoid frustration and wasted time down the road.

E-file your return – Ok so this isn’t really an error but a way to avoid errors. E-filed returns are processed through the IRS e-file system which often detects common errors before it gets sent to the IRS. I’m always impressed when I see people bringing in their hand filled out tax returns but they are rarely free from errors. Time to switch to e-file and avoid simple mistakes.

Check the Easy Inputs – It sounds simple but double check your social security number, name, current address, and zip code. These all could affect your tax return and more importantly your refund. Many times people move but fail to update their tax return because the data is pulled forward from a prior year return. Note, Social Security Numbers should be listed exactly as they appear on your social security card. Save yourself the hassle and check the easy stuff.

Filing Status – Make sure you check your filing status. Married Filing Jointly and Single are easy but are you sure you don’t meet the criteria for head of household? It’s worth checking to make sure because it could save you some money. Check this link to make sure you’re filing the right tax status. What is my Filing Status?

Exemptions – Did you take all of your exemptions? There are personal, spousal, and dependency exemptions. Make sure you take all the ones you are eligible for. Review these two pages to see if you qualify. Personal/Spousal Exemptions and Dependency Exemptions.

Paper Filing – If you insist on doing things the old fashioned way make sure you list all income, credits and deductions on the correct lines and use the appropriate schedules. Don’t forget to put brackets around your negative amounts. And double check your math!

Standard Deduction isn’t so standard – If you are taking the standard deduction and are over the age of 65 did you find the correct “standard deduction” using the chart included in the 1040 instructions. Look here to make sure - How Much Is My Standard Deduction? 

Taxes Owed – Did you figure your tax liability correctly? Use this tax table to make sure. Don’t forget to us the correct column based on your filing status. Tax Tables

John Hancock – Did you sign the return? If filing a joint return, did your spouse sign and date the return?

Attachments – Did you attached all of the correct forms to your tax return? You should include a W-2 from each of your employers (copy B) and 1099-R’s? This is only necessary for paper filers. Just another reason to e-file.

Payments – If you we tax did you include a check or money order with your tax return? Is the check made payable to the “United States Treasury” and does it include your name, address, social security number, phone number, tax form, and tax year? For Minnesota tax make sure the check is made out to Minnesota Revenue and includes the same information as your federal payment. If using a payment voucher make sure you include the voucher with the payment. If using direct debit/credit check and double check your account number and routing numbers. This is an easy one to mess up and can really delay your refund.

Copies – Did you make a copy of your tax return with all the supporting schedules? If you use PJF Tax we keep a copy of your return on file for you free of charge!

It’s very important that you review your entire return even if you had someone prepare it for you. No one knows your tax situation better than you so make sure you are reviewing your tax professional’s work – ask questions if you don’t understand something. Many of these common errors can delay the processing of your return.

Reach out to us at PJF Tax if you need any help preparing or reviewing your tax return. We can also review your previous year’s returns for errors and amend if necessary.