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When should you amend your tax return?

Given the complexity of the federal tax code, it's easy to overlook some detail or other in the rush to get your taxes filed.

The IRS is aware of this. That is why there is a procedure available to allow you to amend your tax return.

In this post, we will discuss when to do this.

An amended return is in order to correct such things as:
• Tax deductions
• Tax credits
• Total income

An amended return can also be used to correct information on filing status or number of dependents. The form for amending your federal tax return is Form 1040X.

Amending a return is a widely used practice. Last week, a few days after the tax filing deadline, the Wall Street Journal reported that the IRS receives about 4.7 million amended returns each year.

It isn't necessary, however, to amend your return just because you realized you made a math error. Don't feel you need to amend your return merely because you think you made a mistake in a calculation. The IRS normally corrects such errors when it processes your return.

What if you forgot to include one of the required schedules for your return? Again, that doesn't necessarily mean you have to amend your entire return. But you should be prepared to receive a request from the IRS for the missing schedule or form.

Keep in mind, too, that if you do file an amended return, your state tax liability may be affected as well.

In short, the amended return is a useful procedure to know about. But whether it makes sense to use it depends on the particular scenario involved.

Source: IRS.gov, "IRS Offers Tips on How to Amend Your Tax Return," Accessed April 22, 2014

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