There are chances of mistakes to happen while filing an income tax return. In the hurry to file tax returns, people may tend to miss out on basic details and realize it once the filing is done. In such cases, there is a guideline issued by the Internal Revenue System which explains what needs to be done if the errors are found out after filing the returns. Eric Smith, a spokesman at the IRS explains briefly about this process.
Whether filing an amended return is necessary or not, depends on the nature of the errors of the taxpayer. Some of them make mistakes in the arithmetical calculations or miss to attach a form. These errors do not need amended returns because there is a step by step process in the IRS to check for calculation errors or missing forms. These kinds of errors are automatically spotted by the IRS and letters are sent to the taxpayers to revise their filing. The public need not spend their time and effort for filing amended returns for these kinds of errors.
There are certain other gross mistakes like misreporting of income. This error changes the final tax amount payable by the taxpayers of the government. These errors need an amended return. Benson Goldstein, who is the senior technical manager at the American Institute of Certified Public accountants, suggests that errors like people finding a forgotten 1099 Form or incorrect filing status, deductions or credits require amended returns from the taxpayers. The IRS has an inbuilt system in place to find out the nonreported income, missing to include all the 1099 forms, etc. and these people are picked up for questioning and audit.
Some may file returns to claim deductions, which they were not aware of earlier or to correct a deduction or claim that they had incorrectly applied for earlier, but were not actually eligible. However, Goldstein pointed out, a majority of the taxpayers file amended returns so that they can claim extra refunds if any. However, Mr. Goldstein insists that, while filing for extra refunds, the taxpayers must wait for the original refunds to hit their account, and then file for the revised return and then get the increased refund. However, after the amended return and revised tax calculations, if it is found out that the taxpayer needs to pay more tax to the government, then it would invite some extra penalty charges.
Another benefit is that the IRS gives up to 3 years' time from the date of filing a wrong return, to correct the same. For example, if a return is filed wrongly in 2012 incorrectly, then the taxpayer can correct the same till the year 2015. An amended return must be sent only by email. Multiple amended returns can be sent, however, separate envelopes should be used to differentiate the year for which the return is filed. There is an option available on the IRS website to check the progress of a particular filing