August 09, 2017 | Posted in:

I Just Discovered A Mistake on my Tax Return. Is it Worth Amending?

Alloy Silverstein’s Tax Tip of the Week

Suppose you just glanced at the 2016 tax return you filed in April and noticed an error or omission. Or maybe you remembered a deduction you neglected to include on your return from the prior year. Is it too late to fix things, even if it’s now August?

Not at all. As long as you meet the statutory deadline, you can file an amended return for the appropriate tax year, even if the original return was filed only a short time ago. But the question remains: Should you do it? The answer: It depends.

In addition, Associate Partners Rich Middleton, CPA and Mike Engleman, CPA both urge taxpayers contemplating amending their return to pay attention to their state tax return(s), not just the federal return.

“You also should consider whether any changes affect your state tax exposure and filing requirements.” – Rich

“It’s important to also consider amending your state tax return since the state usually gets notice of a change to your federal return” – Mike


There are several factors to consider in this decision, including the amount of tax at stake, whether the IRS owes you money, or you owe the IRS.


Were You Due a Refund?

If the IRS owes you money, it may not be worth the extra cost and inconvenience of filing an amended return when the differential is insignificant. On the other hand, if you have a legitimate gripe and the refund would be substantial, go ahead and file an amended return. Many people suspect that filing an amended return increases your likelihood of being subject to an audit, but the IRS denies this.


Did You Owe Taxes?

If you owe the IRS money, the amount of the discrepancy is not as important. Typically you should file an amended return and pay the difference you owe as soon as you can. Otherwise, you run the risk of being assessed extra interest and penalties on top of the regular income tax that is rightfully due.


Other Small Tax Return Missteps

Some errors that taxpayers accidentally make might not even require an amended return. So if you’re not the best with math, or a W-2 ended up not being included, you can breathe a slight sigh of relief.

Per Chris Cicalese, CPA, MSTFP: “The IRS will frequently correct math errors on your tax return automatically. If you forgot to attach a W-2 or other tax form that is reported using your SSN it should automatically be applied to your social security number by the IRS.”


How Much Can Time Pass For Filing An Amended Return?

The deadline for filing an amended return is three years from the original due date and the IRS generally has the same three years to review your return. The audit period is extended to six years if you’ve under-reported income by 25% or more. There is no time limit if fraud is involved.

“Many people think that filing an amended return will result in an automatic audit. That is not the case,” insists Ren Cicalese III, CPA, MST. “Amending a return allows the taxpayer to correct any errors or omissions that were on the original return and does not generate an automatic audit by the IRS.”


Still not sure if filing an amended return is the right move in your case? Call our office so we can go over the details.


Additional Resources on Amending Your Tax Return:

© MC 2017 | “Tax Tips” are published weekly to provide current tax information, tax-cutting suggestions, and tax reminders. The tax information contained in this site is of a general nature and should not be acted upon in your specific situation without further details and/or professional assistance.


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