Sunday, April 8, 2012

Filing an Amended Tax Return

I won concert tickets from a radio station a few years ago. A VIP package to see one of my favorite rappers, Jay-Z. I bragged about my winnings to all my friends. The package was valued at a whopping $800, meet-and-greet included. I remember the prize department warning me to be on the lookout for a 1099 form (the concert tickets were taxable) but I never received it. When tax filing season rolled around months later, I didn't factor them in. Not because I didn't remember, but partially because claiming the prize was all sorts of confusing without the form; honestly though, I mostly didn't factor in the prize because I wasn't anyone important. Why would the IRS audit me? I pressed the continue button on the free e-filing software I had used since college and that was that. No turning back.

For four full years I came out unscathed. But one day I received a letter in the mail saying I owed the IRS $1,200 in taxes for the unclaimed tickets. There have been far worst cases, but $80 vs. $1,200? A huge difference for someone barely making ends-meet. If only I would’ve filed an amended tax return.

Often consumers innocently forget about additional income they earned throughout the year—whether it be through serving jury duty, dog sitting, getting a $50 bonus for opening up a new bank account or whatever. It happens. This is why I've learned that organization is crucial—helps with "remembering." If you forget, hopefully you won't get audited like I did. But if by some off chance you happen to remember about the extra income before tax filing season is over, or you remember about a deduction that you qualify for, you should definitely file for an amendment tax return. It can save you a lot of financial turmoil in the end or give you a bigger return.

So how does one do this? You'll need to have all of the documents you used to file your taxes, including the amendment form—a 1040x. It may seem a little confusing at first but it's fairly easy to fill out. All you need to do is find the difference between the original tax return, and the new one. If this is difficult to do because let's say you never received your 1099, call the facility (in my case it would’ve been the radio station) and request that they send you a copy. If you can't get a hold of the proper personnel, then be prepared to estimate its value.

You will then need to explain in the box provided what specific changes you are making and why. Don't make it drawn out and long winded. Get to the point, and add-in the value in your explanation as well. Sign and date it. Include your check if you own the IRS more money. If you're now expecting a larger tax return due to new deductions, then you'll just have to play the waiting game. Make copies of everything.

Then you'd simply mail in your amendment. Remember that while you may have been able to e-file your original return, amendments must be sent through traditional mail. If you don't think it'll be delivered in time, go ahead and file for an extension—although you have up to three years to file an amendment.

About the Guest Author
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031

This is a guest post. does not provide specific tax advice. If you have questions about amending your tax return, please contact a qualified tax advisor.

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