Nobody enjoys paperwork. Most people find it boring and tedious. Taxes, however, are also stressful. There are different ways to do them, numerous forms and schedules, and many different ways that a single typo or math error can throw everything off base. Whether doing taxes on paper or using software, there is ample room for error.
This year’s tax time was tumultuous enough, as the IRS experienced computer system issues on tax day, April 17. They granted a one-day extension, but it’s unlikely that anybody used that 24-hour period to review a last-minute filing. Sometimes mistakes aren’t discovered until it’s too late.
What happens if you notice a tax form error?
Like any tax issue, your reaction depends on your personal situation. Are you filing as a business or an individual? What forms did you file? What is the error? Do you owe a payment, or are you receiving a refund? You’ll need answers to each of these questions before you can proceed.
If you filed a 1040, you have the option to file an amended return. Eligibility depends on criteria, which you can review in a 5-minute phone call to the IRS. Other issues that will determine how to fix your mistake include the severity of the error and your own filing history. Filers in good status might have fees waived, whereas habitual late-filers will not.
As taxes get more complex, so do amendments
The IRS itself corrects errors it finds when processing your return. However, these are usually for minor human mistakes where it’s clear that you misunderstood the instructions or that you entered the wrong number. As taxes get more complex, including for business owners and personal investors, errors become more likely to trigger an audit.
While anyone earning income in the US has to file taxes, everyone has unique financial and property concerns that affect your tax forms. If you notice an irregularity or suspect you’ve made an error in filing, the best approach is to contact an experienced tax professional to discuss your personal situation. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s important that you fix your mistakes the right way instead of making the situation worse.