There's Still Time to Amend Your 2014 Tax Return
It happens to more people than you think… you file your tax return, then realize that you’ve forgotten to include something crucially important on the return that can make a real difference. What kind of thing might you have left off?
A few possibilities include:
- A deductible expense
- An expense for which you could get a tax credit
- An amended or unexpected K-1 that arrived late from a partnership, S-Corporation, trust or estate
- A corrected or overlooked 1099 or some other income you forgot about
- Making a correction to the advanced premium credit based on an incorrect 1095-A
It doesn’t matter what the reason is behind needing to amend your return, the good news is that there is still time to make changes, not only to the 2014 that you just filed but also to other year’s returns that you’ve previously filed.
There are a few things that you need to keep in mind when considering whether to file an amended federal tax return or amended state income tax return. These include:
- You should be aware that when you amend a return, refunds are usually not available if the returns have exceeded the filing deadline’s three-year statute of limitations. This means that if you have realized that you are owed a refund based on a mistake and it is for a return that is older than those for the years 2012 to 2014, you are not going to get a refund. There are exceptions, including amending a return to carry back a business net operating loss, and there are states that provide a more expansive statute of limitation than the standard three-year period, but as a general rule of thumb, if you want to file an amended return going back to 2012, you need to do so by April 15, 2016.
- If the error that you have discovered, and for which you are considering filing an amended return, is a simple math error, then you don’t need to file an amended return. The IRS, as well as state agencies, automatically check for math errors and make corrections on their own. The same is true when you file a return but leave out an important document such as a W-2 or schedule. The appropriate agency will take note of the missing documentation and ask you to provide it.
- If you realize after filing your tax return that you are eligible for an additional refund, it is best to wait until your tax return has been fully processed and you have received the original amount that you requested before filing an amended return. There is no need to hold onto your tax refund check – you can go ahead and cash it while the additional processing is being done.
- If you realize that you owe additional taxes as a result of some kind of misfiling or underpayment, then you will be not only be responsible for paying the additional taxes, but also for any penalties and interest that may also be due. The government calculates interest based upon the original due date of the return, so if you filed for an extension don’t think that you can use that date – you have to use the date when the tax filing was first due.
- There are many instances where a tax payer’s changes to a return need to be reflected on multiple returns. If that is your situation, keep in mind that you need to send each revised return in its own separate envelope in order to prevent the different returns from being mistaken for a single return. Provide as much information to an amended return as is possible in order to minimize the need for additional questions and inquiries and to get the issue addressed as quickly and easily as possible.
- Make sure that if you are filing an amended return, you provide as much information regarding the reason for the change as possible. Federal and state agencies will require extensive explanation in order to process an amendment, so there’s no such thing as providing too much information.
- If you’re filing an amendment to a federal return, remember to file the same changes with your state or local taxes. Changes to one filing often have an impact on the others unless the amendment that you are filing does not apply to state or local taxes.
Filing amendments to taxes, whether federal, state or local, can be a complicated process. For assistance in making sure that you have provided all necessary information and have documented all of your reasons and explanations correctly, contact our William Westbrook, CPA for assistance.