Tax return mistakes are not uncommon. Since taxes can be extremely complicated and the documents required to file them properly are sometimes difficult to understand, mistakes occur more than you may expect. This is especially true for taxpayers filing their own returns. Now add to the mix that a lot has changed with the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Even experienced tax professionals are sometimes finding it hard to digest all of the changes that they and their clients must deal with. So if you discover you’ve made a mistake on your 2018 tax return, don’t panic. Unfortunately, it happens and is understandable due to all the recent changes to the tax law. There are steps you can take to fix the situation and you should keep a few key things in mind.

Correcting Your Tax Return Mistake: Here’s What You Need to Do

You have three years from the date that you originally filed your tax return (or two years from the date you paid the tax bill in question) to make the necessary changes to correct your mistakes. If you’ve made a math error or forgot to include an item reported to the IRS, (such as Form 1099) there’s a good chance they will catch the mistake and fix it themselves. This normally results in the IRS sending you a letter informing you of what they found and what you should to do to correct the mistake.

If fixing the mistake causes you to owe additional taxes, its best you pay it as quickly as possible since penalties and interest keep accruing on the unpaid balance until your bill is paid off.

If you find an error on your return and decide to correct the mistake on your own, you’ll need to file what’s called an amended tax return. This is basically your “second chance” at getting things right. Understand however, that ALL errors must be corrected in the amended return. For example, if you find three errors that will reduce your tax liability and two that actually increase it, you are required to correct all five and not just the mistakes that benefit you.

An amended return can be used to correct a variety of issues, such as: 

  • Overstated or understated income 
  • Incorrect filing status 
  • Number of dependents 
  • Discrepancies in deductions or tax credits

If any of the above applies to the error you’ve discovered, you can and should file an amended return.

Finding mistakes on your tax return highlights how important it is to partner with the right tax professional to do your taxes next year. Your work and family life keep you busy— so you’re probably not going to be up to date on every change made to the tax code. However, the tax professionals at East Coast Tax Consulting Group will, as it is literally their job to do so.

If nothing else, this will help provide much-needed peace-of-mind regarding the accuracy of your return. You won’t have to worry about whether or not the IRS is going to find some tax return mistake down the road because you’ve dramatically reduced the chances of those mistakes happening in the first place. Call our office today at 561-826-9303 if you need to file an amended tax return or for help with other IRS problems.