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Filing A 1040X Is Not Scary

This past year I had to file a 1040X for the first time in my young tax filing career because I put in a placeholder for my blog earnings that was erroneous. What I did was I entered in what I thought was a reasonable number into TurboTax for informational purposes (just to see what my return or tax due would be) even though I hadn’t received all my 1099s. Since I had entered in a value, TurboTax never pinged me again for the number and I filed my taxes with this estimate. Anyway, no big deal right? People make mistakes all the time, so off I went to fill out a 1040X Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return [3].

Did I Have To File a 1040X?

First things first, did I have to? Yes because my income changed, which is a substantial change. If I had done it by hand and made a simple math error, then the IRS will correct that for me and make any adjustments it needs to. If you make a substantial change to something like your dependents, tax credits or income deductions you forgot, or anything like that then you’ll need a 1040X.

Paying Penalties and Interest

If the IRS thinks you were trying to cheat them, then they’ll levy penalties. If you made a simple error, then they’ll just charge you some interest. In my case, I filed my amended return and sent in the check before the April 15th deadline. They only processed it a month ago and thus charged me interest on the missing amount for the months it spent in limbo. The interest was only a few dollars so I’m not going to waste time arguing but be prepared to pay that difference when it comes.

Actually Filling Out the 1040X

What you will actually do is fill out a new 1040 and a 1040X whenever you need to amend your return. If you initially filled out a 1040EZ or some other 1040 version, you’ll need to fill out a regular 1040 form this time around. One thing to keep in mind, now that you’re amending your return, it will come under greater scrutiny… so be sure to get everything as complete and accurate this second time around. Remember to fill out all the necessary schedules, forms, and attach any additional documentation you need.

Now, onto the 1040X itself, you’ll first need to get your original 1040 and your new 1040. On the 1040, you’ll need to list both values and the differences, for practically every single line item on the 1040. Having both handy will make this process go a lot easier. After you fill that all out, you need to fill out the section that explains what you did wrong and why. Make this brief but detailed enough to explain all the changes. If you owe taxes, be sure to mail the check (to the same place as your original return), made out to the United States Treasury, along with your amended return.

There you go! Easy as pie. 🙂