7 times when you might need to file an amended tax return

7 times when you might need to file an rectify tax fall image : Young woman sitting at table in live room, looking through paperwork she needs to file an amended tax retort. sometimes you need to make a change on your tax tax return after you ’ ve filed it. When that happens, you need to file an amended tax hark back. here are some situations in which you might have to amend your tax return. column note : Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn ’ triiodothyronine affect our editors ’ opinions. Our third-party advertisers don ’ metric ton inspection, approve or endorse our editorial subject. It ’ south accurate to the best of our cognition when posted.

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This article was fact-checked by our editors and CPA Janet Murphy, senior product specialist with Credit Karma Tax®. It has been updated for the 2020 tax year .

Everyone needs a second chance every now and then — and sometimes you even need another shot at filing your tax return.

Imagine you just realized that you made a err on your federal income tax tax return, or failed to claim an important discount. Knowing that you messed up your taxes can be nerve-racking. Your error could mean receiving a lower refund than you should — or even getting hit with sake and penalties if you owe more tax than you thought .
But don ’ metric ton stress. To claim a refund, you typically have up to three years from the time you filed your original return, or within two years from the date you paid the tax — whichever is later — to go binding and amend it .
Let ’ s check out some scenarios when you might need to file an amend tax render .
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What is an amended tax return?

To amend something means to change it, and that ’ s precisely what you do when you file an amended tax return. You change your tax retort to reflect new data .
Filing an amendment may seem confusing because you must complete excess forms in summation to the original 1040. Anytime you need to change your file status, income, deductions or credits, you will need to file a 1040X better tax return along with any forms or schedules that you ’ re transfer .
The 1040X reports your original numbers deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as your new numbers along with a calculation of the dispute between the two. To file an amend return, you will need the original copy of your refund and the new information that needs to be changed .

What are some common reasons to file an amended tax return?

No one is perfective, and mistakes are bound to happen. But you can fix the mistakes by filing an amendment. hera are some examples of coarse scenarios that could require you to file an amendment :

1. You filed your taxes and then received another W-2 or other income statement

After you filed your taxes, you received a W-2 for a job you held for only a few weeks. The sum on the form may be just a few hundred dollars, but it could inactive affect your tax. Or you received an interest argument for a bank account you had forgotten about .
The IRS expects you to report all of your income for the year. In this situation, it ’ sulfur best to file an amended tax render .
By law, employers and businesses are required to send all income statements such as W-2s and 1099-MISC by Jan. 31. If you plan to file early, it is best that you make sure you ’ ve received all income statements before file .

2. You missed claiming a credit or deduction you were eligible to receive

There are a number of credits and above-the-line deductions ( ones you don ’ t have to itemize to take ) that could help you lower your tax charge. If you are eligible for one and don ’ thymine claim it, you could be leaving money on the table. Filing an rectify tax return could allow you to claim that money .
For example, if you paid college tutelage during the tax class, you could be eligible for the American opportunity tax recognition or the life learning citation. If you want to claim your educational credits after you ’ ve filed your 1040, you ’ ll have to file an amendment .

3. Your parents want to claim you as a dependent on their taxes, but you already claimed a personal exemption

Claiming a personal exemption, you went ahead and filed your taxes before your parents had a opportunity to file. But your parents want to claim you as a dependent on their taxes. When you did your taxes, you failed to check the box on the 1040 that says you could be claimed as a dependent on person ’ south else ’ second taxes .
immediately your parents can not claim you as a dependent on their taxes. If your parents can claim you on their taxes — and you agree they should — you ’ ll motivation to file an amendment .

4. Your employer made a mistake on your W-2 and had to send you a corrected document

People make mistakes, and then do companies. If the payroll department made an error on your W-2, it ’ ll have to send you a corrected form. When you receive the new W-2C it will display the previously reported data next to the correct information to let you know what needs to be corrected. If the numbers changed and you already filed your return using the incorrect W-2, you will have to file an amendment .
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5. You forgot to report income from a side gig

You worked a side gig but had no estimate you had to report the excess income on your federal income tax return. You went ahead and filed your taxes, but late you received a CP2000 notice from the IRS alert you that the data the IRS has on file doesn ’ triiodothyronine match what you reported on your tax come back. In this case, you may have underpaid your taxes.

The notification shows the side gig income that you forgot to report. If the information in the CP2000 is correct, you don ’ t need to amend your return unless you have extra income, credits or expenses to report .
In this case, you agree with the notice but besides had expenses that need to be deducted. So you ’ ll have to file an amendment .
To deduct your side-gig expenses, fill out a Schedule C for the side gig and file a 1040X. You will besides want to write “ CP2000 ” on lead of your rectify refund, attach it to the response form, then mail it to the IRS .

6. You used the wrong filing status

You got married in November. Because you were individual for most of the year, your spouse assumed you would have to file freestanding returns using a single filing condition. But the IRS considers you as married for the entire year deoxyadenosine monophosphate farseeing as you wed by Dec. 31 of the tax class you ’ re file for .
You will need to file an amendment to change your file condition. And, considering the tax advantages of being married — such as a higher standard subtraction — you may actually be tidal bore to file that amended tax return .

7. Someone else claimed your child on their tax return

You go to file your taxes and the IRS rejects your hark back because your antique ( or person else ) has already claimed your child as a dependant .
Of course, you and your ex-wife can ’ thymine both claim your child as a dependent if you want to qualify for certain tax breaks like the child tax credit. You may have a disassociate rule or hands agreement in home, but for IRS purposes the parent who gets to claim the child as a dependent is typically the parent with whom the child lived for more than half the year and who provided more than half of the child ’ second hold .
If you and your ex-husband can agree that you should be the one to claim your child as a dependent, your ex-wife will need to file an better refund to remove your child as a dependent. If the two of you can ’ metric ton match, the IRS will apply tie-breaker rules when deciding who will get to claim the child .


What is the child tax credit?

The child tax accredit is a federal income tax recognition available to taxpayers with qualifying children younger than 17 at the end of the tax year. The credit is worth up to $ 2,000 per qualifying child. The sum of the accredit you qualify for is based on your modified adjusted arrant income. Learn more about the child tax accredit and how to claim it. show hide

Is there a time limit for amending a return?

The IRS advises that you generally must file Form 1040X to amend a return within three years from the date you filed your original tax return, or within two years of the date you paid the tax, whichever is by and by. Be certain to enter the year of the return you are amending at the peak of Form 1040X .
If you miss the deadline, the IRS may not let you amend your reelect — and you could miss out on any deductions, credits or tax benefits the amendment would allow you to claim. however, clock periods for claiming a refund are suspended for a period when the IRS determines a taxpayer to be financially disable because of a physical ailment or mental damage .

How can I file an amended return?

To amend a tax render, you must file Form 1040X. The IRS began accepting electronically filed 1040X forms in summer 2020. previously, you had to mail a composition 1040X to amend your return .
Some on-line tax file services can help you complete a 1040X that you can then print and mail. For example, if you filed your master return using the loose Credit Karma Tax® charge servicing, you can use it to fill out the better reappearance. then you ’ ll can print and mail the shape .
If you ’ re used to e-filing your tax restitution, here are some tips for filing a newspaper 1040X :

  • Be sure to sign and date the form.
  • Attach any required forms that support your amendment to the 1040X. Check out the 1040X instructions for details on how to assemble your return because forms must go in a specific order when you attach them.
  • Make sure you explain the reason for amending the return on Form 1040X, Part III.
  • If you use software or an online service to prepare your 1040X, you’ll have to print a copy to mail. It’s probably a good idea to print a second copy to keep for your records.

If you find you need to amend multiple years of returns, you ’ ll need to file a branch 1040X for each year. You can check the condition of your rectify return on-line through the IRS Where ’ s My Amended Return tool .

Bottom line

Filing an amend tax fall is like getting a moment prospect at any tax benefits you might have missed out on the first fourth dimension. Of course, it may besides mean you end up owing more tax .
Being mindful of the situations that can trigger an amended return could help you avoid making a err you ’ ll have to correct by and by .
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Relevant sources:  IRS : IRS Offers Tips on How to Amend Your Tax Return | IRS : Amended Returns and Form 1040X | IRS : Amended and anterior Year Returns | IRS Reminds Employers : Forms W-2, W-3 and some Forms 1099-MISC Due Jan. 31 | IRS Form 1040 | IRS : Understanding Your CP2000 Notice | Publication 4491, VITA/TCE Training Guide | IRS : Qualifying Child of More than One Person | IRS Publication 501 : Dependents, Standard Deduction and Filing Information | IRS : Ten Facts on Filing an better Tax Return | IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax For Individuals | IRS FAQs – Amended Returns | IRS Instructions for Form 1040X | IRS : Where ’ s My Amended Return ?
A senior intersection specialist with Credit Karma Tax®, Janet Murphy is a certified public accountant with more than a decade in the tax diligence. She ’ second worked as a tax analyst, tax product development director and tax accountant. She has account degrees and certifications from Clemson University and the U.S. Career Institute. You can find her on LinkedIn .
About the author: Trina Hargrove has managed tax, consulting and payroll accounting businesses for more than a decade. A seasoned tax professional, she’s performed individual and corporate tax preparation of both state and federal retu… Trina Hargrove has managed tax, consulting and payroll accounting businesses for more than a ten. A season tax professional, she ’ mho performed individual and corporate tax cooking of both state and federal retu… Read more.

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