Sometimes you will get a Form 1099 or Form K1 after you already filed your income tax return. Sometimes you will “remember” that W2 or 1099-MISC that you should have gotten in the mail but didn’t (like when you move and don’t tell your old employer). No matter what the reason is, sometimes you simply need to make some changes to your return. But what changes require you to file an amendment and just how do you go about the whole thing? Keep reading dear friend, keep reading.
When you should make changes.
Amend to correct errors. You should file an amended tax return to correct errors or make changes that are needed to your original tax return. For example, you should amend to change your filing status, correct the amount of income reported, or fix erroneous/omitted deductions or credits.
Don’t amend for errors where the IRS also receives a form. You normally won’t need to file an amended return to correct math errors where the IRS receives the same form. The IRS will typically correct those for you. For example, if you failed to report $1,000 of interest reported on Form 1099-INT, the IRS will usually fix it and send you a letter telling you they did so. But if you transposed the income number for your cash based vending machine business on Schedule C (i.e. $8,999 vs $9,899) then you’ll want to file an amendment to report the correct figure as the IRS will never know it is wrong.
How long do you have to file your amendment?
You usually have three years from the due date of your original tax return to file an amended return. This is particularly true if you need to claim a refund. You can file it within two years from the date you paid the tax, if that date is later. For example, the last day for most people to file a 2011 claim for a refund was April 15, 2015 as the due date for that return was April 15, 2012. For more information about this and other IRS statute of limitations, check out this post.