We are all human and therefore prone to making the occasional mistake or two and those can be corrected with filing an amended tax return. This includes financial errors concerning one’s personal or business expenditures as well as tax-related faux pas. This is something that even the Internal Revenue Service acknowledges and seems to understand. However, depending on the type of mistake, the agency’s response may not seem very forgiving.
The IRS lists the following tax-related mistakes as being among the most commonly made by taxpayers.
- Failing to provide or making errors when entering Social Security numbers
- Adding, subtraction or other math-related errors
- Using the wrong filing status (i.e. single v. head of household)
- Taking too many credits or deductions or those to which an individual isn’t eligable
- Forgetting to sign or date tax forms
While many of the common tax mistakes cited by the IRS can be easily corrected by filing an amended tax return and shouldn’t result in any fines or other penalties, other tax errors may be viewed as being willful in nature and therefore carry hefty penalties. For example, if the IRS suspects or has reason or evidence to believe that an individual took action to avoid paying taxes, he or she may not only be hit with costly fines, but may also face criminal tax evasion charges.
For individuals who wish to rectify mistakes made on filed tax documents prior to the IRS’ discovery of such errors, a Form 1040X can be filed. When doing so, an individual must be certain to reference the specific tax document and year that the amended form should replace as well as the specific changes and corrected amounts.
In cases where an individual learns that he or she is being audited or has been contacted by the IRS in reference to tax mistakes, it’s important to contact an attorney.