c286491_sIf you realize you forgot something on your tax return, you can amend that return after it has been filed. There are many reasons individuals need to amend their returns, whether it is for the just-filed 2014 return or prior year returns. Here are some key points when considering whether to file an amended federal (Form 1040X) or state income tax return.

If you are amending for a refund, be aware that refunds generally won’t be paid for returns if the three-year statute of limitations from the filing due date has expired. Except for amending a return to carry back a business net operating loss (NOL), the IRS will pay refunds only on returns from 2012 through 2014. Some states have a longer statute. The last day to file a federal amended 2012 return for a refund is April 16, 2016.

Generally, you do not need to file an amended return to correct math errors you made on the return. The IRS or state agency will automatically make those corrections.

If you are filing to claim an additional refund, wait until you have received your original refund before filing Form 1040X. You may cash that check while waiting for any additional refund.

If you amend returns and owe additional tax, you will be subject to interest and penalty charges. Interest is charged on any tax not paid by the due date of the original return, without regard to extensions.

If you amend multiple year returns, mail them in separate envelopes to be sure each is received and processed and not overlooked in the multiple return envelope.

A detailed explanation of the changes must also be attached. This is required to explain to the processing staff the reason for the amendment. An insufficient explanation can lead to additional correspondence and delays. Depending on why you file an amended federal return, you may be required to amend your state return.

An amended return can be more complicated than the original, so please contact this office for assistance in preparing your amended returns.