Be sure to amend your tax return if necessary

Maybe you received a corrected 1099. Perhaps you received other tax documents after your initial filing that you forgot to come. Maybe you forgot to claim charitable contributions.

When a taxpayer has filed a return and later realizes that he has not included certain relevant information or has made an error, it is important that the taxpayer amend the previously filed return.

There is a formal process that the IRS and other tax authorities have in place for you to report these changes. Changing a declaration effectively changes what you originally declared to what you would or should declare. Generally speaking, it is far better to amend your own return than to wait for a notice from the IRS informing you of an error.

You can amend a return up to three years from the original filing deadline. In other words, you can currently edit tax returns for 2019, 2020, and 2021, as those years are still considered open by the tax authorities. You will need to use Form 1040X, Amended US Individual Income Tax Return, to file an amended return. You will use this Form 1040X to amend Form 1040. So regardless of which form you originally filed, you will need to use this Form 1040X. If the changes involve another annex or another form, you must also attach this annex or this form to the amended declaration.

If you are amending more than one return, prepare a 1040X for each return and mail them in separate envelopes to the appropriate IRS location. The 1040X instructions list the address to mail the amended return, and this mailing address varies depending on your location. You can now also edit federal and Ohio returns electronically. Also, be sure to enter the year of the return you are changing at the top of Form 1040X as shown.

This is because the Form 1040X is set up where you put the numbers you previously reported in column A, then the net change in column B, and finally the corrected amount in column C. line on the modified form.

Please be sure to include a detailed explanation of the reason for the amended declaration in the space provided on page 2 of Form 1040X. If you are filing a request for additional reimbursement, it is advisable to wait until you receive your initial reimbursement before filing Form 1040X. You can cash this original refund check while you wait for the amended return to be processed if it entitles you to an additional refund.

If you owe additional taxes due to the need to amend the declaration, pay the taxes as soon as possible. The IRS charges late penalties and interest if there is a balance owing and the amended return is filed after the original filing deadline. Paying the taxes owing that are associated with the amended return as soon as possible will help reduce the amount of penalties and interest charged to the account.

Your state tax liability may be affected by changes to your federal return, and you may need to change your state or local returns as well. In Ohio, if your adjusted gross income from page 1 of your federal 1040 return or the number of exemptions you are claiming changes, you will also need to file an amended Ohio state return.

So, if you have discovered that you have an error on a declaration already filed, be proactive and modify the declarations concerned. It is much easier for you to initiate an amendment to a return already filed than having to follow and respond to notices from the IRS when it determines that a reporting error of some type has occurred.

Paul Pahoresky is a partner at JLP CPAs accounting firm. He can be reached at 440-974-1040 ext. 214 or at [email protected] Consult your tax advisor for your particular situation for additional information and advice on these matters.