tax return mistakesHave you ever had one of those days where you’ve gone to work and discovered that you left your laptop at home? Or how about the time you went to the grocery store to pick up a few things and forgot the most important item you needed? What if you’ve realized that you have forgotten to include something on your tax return or you’ve entered the wrong information and you have already filed? Depending on the type of mistake you’ve made, you may or may not need to file an amended tax return. Since you’ve already filed your federal return, the IRS may correct errors in math on a return and may accept a return with certain forms or schedules left out. In these cases, do not amend your return. However, if there is a change in your filing status, income, deductions or credits, you will need to file an amended return. Below are ten tips from the IRS about amending your federal tax return. Please note that your state tax liability may be affected by a change made on your federal return. For more information on how to correct your state tax return, contact your state tax agency.

10 Tips from the Internal Revenue Service about amending your federal tax return.

  1. When to amend a return Generally, you should file an amended return if your filing status, number of dependents, total income, tax deductions or tax credits were reported incorrectly or omitted. Additional reasons for amending a return are listed in the instructions.

  2. When NOT to amend a return In some cases, you do not need to amend your tax return. The IRS usually corrects math errors or requests missing forms – such as Forms W-2 or schedules – when processing an original return. In these instances, do not amend your return.

  3. Form to use Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to amend a previously filed Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ. Make sure you check the box for the year of the return you are amending on the Form 1040X. An amended tax return cannot be filed electronically.

  4. Multiple amended returns If you are amending more than one year’s tax return, prepare a separate 1040X for each return and mail them in separate envelopes to the appropriate IRS processing center (see "Where to File" in the instructions for Form 1040X).

  5. Form 1040X The Form 1040X has three columns. Column A shows original figures from the original return. Column B shown the changes you are making. Column C shows the corrected figures. There is an area on the back of the form to explain the specific changes and the reasons for the changes.

  6. Other forms or schedules If the changes involve other schedules or forms, attach them to the Form 1040X. Failure to do this will cause a delay in processing.

  7. Additional refund If you are amending your return to get an additional refund, wait until you have received your original refund before filing Form 1040X. You may cash that check while waiting for any additional refund.

  8. Additional tax If you owe additional tax, you should file Form 1040X and pay the tax as soon as possible to limit interest and penalty charges.

  9. When to file Generally, to claim a refund, you must file Form 1040X within three years from the date you filed your original tax return or within two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.

  10. Processing time Normal processing time for amended returns is 8 to 12 weeks.