Everyone makes mistakes, and if you make an error while filing your taxes, you won’t necessarily be penalized. The IRS will give you a chance to correct that mistake but within a limited period of time.
When tax return amendment is necessary
If you received an additional tax document for a particular tax year or forgot to include a payment document when preparing your return, you may need to file an amended return. Failing to make the necessary corrections could be considered tax fraud.
The process of amending a tax return
You can’t simply make changes to your original tax return and mail it back to the IRS. You will need to prepare a new form called the 1040-X and attach it to the original one. According to tax law, if that error was made in 2018 and other previous years, you will need to file a paper return. Whereas, if it was made in 2019, going forward, you could e-file it.
The IRS deadline
If the error was made while filing your taxes, you have up to three years to file an amendment. For example, if you filed your 2018 taxes on April 15th, 2019, and realized that you made a mistake, you have until April 15th, 2022, to file an amended return. However, if it was made while paying your taxes, you have up to two years.
After filing an amended return
After filing an amended return, it will take up to 16 weeks for the IRS to process it. If they accept your changes, they will send you a notice that includes the updated information. However, if they reject your amended returns, they will send you a letter explaining why.
Keep in mind that amending your tax return can result in an audit from the IRS. So it’s helpful to double-check your work and calculations before sending in your final document or file.