When You Make a Mistake on Your Tax Return

Face it – everyone makes mistakes. The possibility of making a mistake on your tax return is no exception. Regardless of whether the mistake is in your favor or the government’s favor, if you find an error, you should correct it.

To correct an error on your individual Federal return, you will need to amend your original return by filing a Form 1040X. This form may appear intimidating at first, but it is relatively simple to complete. It is made up of three columns: one to report the information shown on your original return, another to report the changes being made on the amended return, and a final column to shown the corrected amounts. On the back of the return, there is an area to explain why you are amending the return. If the changes you are making involve another form or schedule, such as a W-2 or Form 1099, be sure to attach a copy of that form to the 1040X.

Generally, you should amend a return if any of the following were reported incorrectly:

  • Your filing status
  • Number of exemptions
  • Your total income
  • Your deductions or credits

Unfortunately, the IRS will not allow you to file an amended return for every year you filed a return; only those returns still within the applicable statute of limitations are eligible. Generally, this limit of time is the later of three years from the date your return is either due (April 15) or filed.

Keep in mind that the changes on your federal amended return may cause changes on your state income tax return as well. Most states, including Ohio, require an amended state filing anytime the federal return is amended resulting in a change to adjusted gross income.

Please contact your Rea associate if you think you may need an amended return.

This article was originally published in Illuminations: Facts & Figures from people with a brighter way, a Rea & Associates enewsletter, 6/28/2006.

Note: This content is accurate as of the date published above and is subject to change. Please seek professional advice before acting on any matter contained in this article.