Last Updated on Feb 17, 2020 by James W

Tax forms are never easy to get right no matter how simple the government says the new forms may be. Individual tax returns are hard but business tax forms are even harder to fill out properly. Federal tax forms change every year or so. This means a new learning curve for every tax filing. Hiring an expert tax accountant is one solution. If they make a mistake they have the liability to some extent. But, if the tax forms have mistakes, changes must still be made and additional taxes might be owed.

Correcting Mistakes On Tax Returns

So, what if a person discovers after the tax forms have been sent that there was a mistake made. Or, what happens if the tax return is audited and mistakes are found? Mistakes on tax forms can be expensive. The government might even suspect intentional tax fraud. There are accepted ways to fix mistakes on tax filings. One is using the IRS Streamlined Amnesty program. Simply Click Here for more information on this program.

This tax program is good for individuals and businesses who do business overseas, have not filed taxes for several years, or have made other serious tax filing mistakes. A person should check on this program to see if it will help in their situation.

Three Steps To Follow To Correct Tax Form Mistakes

  1. Wait for the IRS to inform you of the mistake. If it is a math mistake or a missing document, the IRS will contact you. If it is a small issue, wait for the IRS to process the forms and contact the tax filer. For small errors, the process will be manageable. It takes approximately 21 working days for the IRS to process each tax form. If the mistake means the taxpayer owes more money, the process can be a little more complicated, but the IRS will spell out the requirements. The Form 1040X Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return can be downloaded as a PDF. This is a short form.
  2. Larger tax mistakes require more effort. The taxpayer will want to change the filing status, correct the income figures, change the deductions or credits, or other line items through an amended return process. The taxpayer has three years to file an amended return. The IRS website offers help in the form of an interactive tax questionnaire. When it is completed, the taxpayer is informed if they need to file an amended return.
  3. More complicated tax returns are harder to fix properly. It may be a good idea at this point to seek the help of a tax professional. It will cost money but might save money and trouble in the long run. The decision to hire a tax attorney or other professional might depend on how large the mistake was and what the tax liability may be. Amended tax returns must be mailed, so allow sufficient time so no deadlines are missed. Taxpayers can go back three years using a separate form for each year and mailing each form separately.
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There May Be Penalties or Additional Tax Liability

Depending on the mistake, the IRS might assess a penalty. If that penalty is not paid on time, there will be interest assessed on the unpaid balance. For those who filed on programs such as TurboTax, the software can also walk the customer through amending a tax return. They also have a TurboTax Live program with CPAs and agents for help.

The taxpayer should fill out the amended tax forms carefully attaching only pertinent forms, schedules, or documents. At this point, the additional taxes owed must be included. If an additional refund is indicated, the IRS will credit it.


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