Oops! I Made a Mistake on my Tax Return, but I’ve Already Filed. Now What?

I made a tax mistake! Now what?Sometimes, I leave the grocery store without remembering to pick up an item or two on my list. Or I book a plane ticket online and forget to plug in the discount code I’ve had for weeks.

And sometimes, people file their own tax returns and forget to include a crucial piece of information that could significantly adjust their tax refund (or alter their tax bill).

But all hope is not lost! If you’ve realized you’ve forgotten something or you’ve entered the wrong information on your tax return, it can be corrected – even if you’ve already filed.

Your next move: file an amended tax return. Simply put, an amended return is usually filed because something was incomplete, incorrect or omitted from the original tax return. It should be filed if you forgot to claim credits and deductions, or need to correct filing status and income – whether the result is a tax refund or a tax bill.

Is there a deadline for filing an amended tax return?

If you are claiming a refund, the deadline for filing an amended return is generally three years after the original deadline or two years after taxes were paid for that year – whichever is later.

If you discover a “taxable” mistake or omission, you should amend as soon as possible. Depending on the size of the tax bill, you could reduce or avoid penalties. If you e-filed your original return, give it time to be processed before you amend. Also, if you are expecting a tax refund, wait to receive it before you submit your amended return.

How do I file an amended tax return?

There is a special form: you will use form 1040X to correct previously filed 1040, 1040-A and 1040-EZ forms. Keep in mind that these cannot be filed electronically; amended returns must be mailed to the IRS.

Check the Form 1040-X instructions for your state’s IRS Service Center address. But, if you are amending because you received a notice from the IRS, the amended return should go to the address indicated on the notice and the notice should be referenced in the amended return.

If you realize you need to correct something on your 2012 return, make an appointment with an H&R Block tax professional for help filing an amended return.

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