NO. 7 Explain the changes. Use the space at Part III at the top of the second page to explain why you are filing the amended return. However, this isn’t a confessional or an appeal. Be clear and concise and just state the facts of why the change was made. NO. 8 There is no e-filing option for amended returns. All 1040X forms must be mailed via USPS to the IRS and someone must physical - ly enter the data. NO. 9 Attach the right documenta- tion. You must attach copies of any forms or schedules affected by the change, including W-2 or 1099 forms (the normal rules apply here), or specific schedules that you didn’t attach previously. Don’t confuse the IRS by adding other forms or papers. In the instructions, they specifically request that you “not attach items unless required to do so.” Remem - ber, less is more. NO. 10 Include payment if you owe. If your amended return reflects a bal - ance due, include payment with your return. There may be penalty and interest due, but you can be sure that the IRS will let you know those num - bers at a later date.
NO. 11 You might be due a refund. If you’re due a refund, you can choose to apply it to the next year’s return or have a refund check mailed to you. To claim a refund, you typical - ly must file your form 1040X within three years after the date you filed your original return or within two years after the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. If you file after the statute of limitations, you may be out in the cold. In previous years, some tax professionals have suggested that if the statute of limitations has run for a refund, there’s no point in filing an amended return. However, if a change might result in a mea - surable benefit even after the statute runs, consider this: • The IRS has been known to send an occasional refund outside of the refund window based on facts and circumstances; • The IRS may credit an unpaid refund amount to a later (or earlier) tax year with a balance; or • If the adjustment is in your favor—even if you don’t get a refund—you’ve documented the adjustment. If the IRS were to examine your return and make an adjustment, which would have resulted in additional tax, those adjustments could offset. NO. 12 Pay attention to the statute of limitations. This means that filing an amended return does not extend the time to pay.
NO. 13 Think big picture. If you’re making a change that is more than correcting a missed line item or righting a transposed number, think big picture. Merely filing an amend - ed return may not be the best way to correct tax fraud or address a significant omission like a missed foreign compliance form (such as a Report of Foreign Bank and Finan - cial Accounts (FBAR) or form 5471, Information Return of U.S. Persons With Respect To Certain Foreign Corporations). If your amended return carries potential consequenc - es beyond payment due, check with a tax professional before mailing it in. your return online using the “Where’s MyAmended Return?” tool. You’ll need to pro - vide your Tax ID number, your date of birth, and your zip code. Be patient: a federal form 1040X usually takes an additional 8 to 12 weeks to process (in some instances, the IRS says it could take 16 weeks). Be aware that the return won’t even show up in the system for about three weeks. • Richard Hart, EA, CAA, is the owner of Hart & Associates Tax Consulting and Preparation Services and a NARPM® Affiliate Member. He specializes in tax accounting and has earned the credentials of Enrolled Agent and Certified Acceptance Agent with the Internal Revenue Service. NARPM® receive information like this article every month through its news magazine, Residential Resource. To join or learn more, visit NARPM.org/join. NO. 14 Track the progress of
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