CHICAGO, May 5, 2017 – You completed your tax return, filed on time and thought everything was done when days later you discover another deduction you forgot to list or income you didn’t include. What can you do?
Don’t panic: You can still file an amended return. The Illinois CPA Society offers practical advice on when it’s best to amend a return and what’s involved.
When to Amend?
Amending a tax return is necessary to make changes to your reported income, filing status, deductions, or credits. Let’s say you did some part-time work on the weekends last summer and forgot to include that income on your 2016 return. Or maybe you just realized that you’re eligible for the American Opportunity tax credit based on college courses you took last year. These are some examples of reasons you may need to send in an amended return.
How Does the Process Work?
You can generally amend a return up to three years from the date the original return was filed (or up to two years after the tax was paid, whichever is later). If you were due a refund from your original return and realize you deserve an additional refund, wait until you get the original refund before you file your amended return.
If you owe more tax, file your amended return and pay the tax as soon as you can to avoid possible interest or penalties you may be charged for late payment. And don’t forget to amend your state tax returns, as well, if the same changes apply to them. Amended returns take up to 16 weeks to process.
However, not all mistakes require an amended return. If you made a math error, the Internal Revenue Service will automatically correct those errors for you. If you failed to attach necessary tax forms, the IRS will generally mail you a request for them.
Special Option for Combat Veterans
A new law offers veterans with combat-related injuries the chance to file amended returns to reclaim taxes that were improperly withheld. Veterans who leave the armed services with personal injuries or sickness resulting from active service in the armed forces receive severance payments that are not supposed to be included in their gross taxable income, but taxes on some payments were incorrectly withheld in the past.
Thanks to the Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act of 2016, veterans can file amended returns for improper withholding going back to 1991. Affected veterans will be notified of their eligibility by December 20, 2017 and will have one year after their notification to file their amended returns.
Find a CPA
If you have questions or need help amending a return, the Illinois CPA Society’s free “Find a CPA” online directory is available to locate a tax expert near you. The directory lets individuals, businesses and not-for-profit organizations conduct simple CPA searches by location, type of services needed, industries served and language preference.
About the Illinois CPA Society
The Illinois CPA Society, with more than 24,500 members, is one of the largest state CPA societies in the nation. Our mission is dedicated to enhancing the value of the CPA profession through the strategic initiatives of advocacy, information, education and connections.