What Happens if You Make a Mistake on Your Tax Return?

Mistakes happen, even on tax returns. If you discover an error on a return that’s already been filed, you can amend it using Form 1040-X.

When to File an Amended Tax Return

File an amended return if you:

  • Missed claiming a deduction or credit
  • Claimed the wrong filing status
  • Need to add or remove a dependent
  • Forgot to report taxable income
  • Claimed an ineligible expense, deduction, or credit

When Not to File an Amended Tax Return

Don’t file an amended return for:

  • Math or clerical errors. The IRS will usually correct these and send you a bill for additional tax or a refund if the error was in your favor.

Time Limit for Filing an Amended Return

File within:

  • Three years from the original filing deadline
  • Two years of paying the tax due for that year (if later)

How to File an Amended Tax Return

Step 1: Gather Documents

Collect your original tax return and any new documents needed to prepare your amended return, such as:

  • New or amended W-2 or 1099 forms
  • Documentation to support new deductions or credits
  • Receipt for a charitable donation
  • Form 1098 Mortgage Interest Statement
  • Form 1098-T for an education credit

Step 2: Get the Right Forms

Use Form 1040-X to amend your return. You may also need other forms, such as Schedule A for itemized deductions or Schedule C for business income and expenses.

Step 3: Fill Out Form 1040-X

Form 1040-X has three columns:

  • Column A: Numbers from your original return
  • Column B: Increases or decreases to those numbers
  • Column C: Corrected amounts (Column A + Column B)

In Part III, provide a clear explanation for amending your return.

Step 4: Submit Your Amended Forms

E-file your amended return if you filed the original return electronically. Otherwise, print and mail the completed Form 1040-X and any supporting forms to the address provided in the instructions.

What Happens if My Amended Return Increases My Refund?

The IRS will issue an additional refund for the increased amount. For example, if your original refund was $2,500 and your amended return shows a $3,500 refund, you’ll receive an additional $1,000.

What if the Amended Return Results in a Higher Tax Bill?

Make an additional tax payment by mailing a check or making an online payment at the IRS website. Paying promptly minimizes interest and penalties.

How Long Does the IRS Take to Amend Your Return?

Paper-filed amended returns can take eight weeks or longer to process. Check the status of your amended return using the IRS’ “Where’s My Amended Return?” tool.

Do You Need to File Both a Federal and State Tax Return?

If you amend your federal return, you’ll likely need to amend your state return as well. Each state has its own form for amending a tax return.

Do You Need to Update Your Withholding After Amending Your Return?

If your amended return shows a large tax liability or refund, consider updating your withholding. Use the IRS’ Withholding Calculator to estimate your paycheck withholding and complete a new Form W-4 for your employer.

Amending your tax return can correct errors and ensure you receive the correct refund or pay the correct amount of tax. Follow the steps outlined above to file an amended return accurately and efficiently.

How To Amend a Tax Return on Turbotax (How to Fix Your Tax Mistakes)


Can I get in trouble for making a mistake on my tax return?

There is no specific penalty for an incorrect tax return. However, penalties can apply to your incorrect tax return. For instance, if you have to pay more tax, more penalties will apply in correlation to the increase in tax.

Does TurboTax check for mistakes?

TURBOTAX ONLINE GUARANTEES 100% Accurate Calculations Guarantee – Individual Returns: If you pay an IRS or state penalty or interest because of a TurboTax calculation error, we’ll pay you the penalty and interest.

What happens if you mess up your taxes on TurboTax?

If you used TurboTax Online, simply log in to your account and select “Amend a return that was filed and accepted.” If you used our CD/download product, sign back into your return and select “Amend a filed return.” You must file a separate Form 1040-X for each tax return you are amending.

What happens if you accidentally file taxes wrong?

To Correct a Tax Return Mistake, File an Amendment 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.

What if the IRS doesn’t correct a mistake?

If IRS doesn’t correct your mistake or if it’s a huge mistake or if you forgot to report something important (like being married), you’ll want to fix your own mistakes. You’ll do this by amending your previously filed tax return with a federal form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (downloads as a pdf).

What happens if you find a mistake on your tax return?

Most folks assume that work for tax professionals tapers off after Tax Day, but for many of us, the pace actually picks up. This is often the time when the tough questions begin. And chief among them: What happens if you discover a mistake on your tax return? My answer is almost always the same: Mistakes are totally fixable.

How do I fix a mistake on my tax return?

You can fix most mistakes by filing an amended return. If IRS doesn’t correct your mistake or if it’s a huge mistake or if you forgot to report something important (like being married), you’ll want to fix your own mistakes.

Can I file another tax return if my information is incorrect?

if it is before the current year filing date: you can file another original tax return with your correct information. However, the IRS may find those errors and send you a notice. See the “Received a Notice” below, if you do receive a notice before filing a corrected return.

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