Tax Tip of the Day: How Do I Correct a Mistake on a Tax Return I’ve Already Filed?

Have you already electronically filed your Form 1040 for the 2011 tax year but only now noticed you made an error when preparing the return? If you need to correct a mistake on your federal income tax return that you’ve already filed with the IRS, it’s not too late to correct the mistake by filing an amended return, Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. The IRS considers an amended return filed on or before the due date of a return to be the taxpayer’s return for the period.

Correcting a Mistake

Taxpayers cannot file more than one original tax return per tax year. If you have already filed an original Form 1040 with the IRS, but want to correct an error on the return (such as claiming a deduction or credit you discovered you were entitled to, or removing a credit or deduction you are not qualified to take, changing your filing status, or income, for example) file an amended return, Form 1040X, on or before April 17, 2012 (the filing deadline for this tax season).

If the return is filed on or before the deadline for filing, the IRS considers the amended return to be your return for the tax period. If you file an amended return reporting income taxes due after April 18, however, you may be subject to the assessment of interest and penalties.

Example. You filed your 2011 individual income tax return, Form 1040, on February 1, 2012. But in late February you discovered that you made a mistake on your return. You can file an amended return on or before April 17, 2012. The last return filed on or before April 17 (your amended return) will be your official tax return. Thus, the last filed return you send before the filing deadline (April 17) is the one that counts as the original return for IRS purposes. 

Amended Returns After April 17

If you discover the error on your return after April 17 has passed, you still file an amended return, Form 1040X, to correct your previously filed return. Certain tax elections once made on the original return, however, are irrevocable. Also, any tax not paid with the original return accrues interest. However, as long as a mistake is corrected on an amended return before the original return is audited, penalties are generally waived.

Please contact our office for more information on this subject and how it pertains to your specific tax or financial situation.


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Since 1999, Berrios & Associates, Inc. has been providing a distinctive mixture of leadership-knowledge, and customer service satisfying client needs in advisory, tax, and outsourcing. Serving a diverse client base from individuals and sole proprietors to private corporations with nationwide and international locations. In the domain of accounting firms, Berrios & Associates has engraved a distinctive business based on diverse solutions through the interpersonal relationship of corporate and personal tax, corporate back office support, and business growth advisory. The firm directs clients through their everyday operations to ensure they have the right business model in place to meet their business goals.



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