You’ve filed your federal tax return and then realize that you forgot to include an item of income or a big deduction, or filled out a form completely wrong! Don’t stress out about it – it’s possible to file an amended federal tax return, as long as you file within a certain period after the return due date.
While nobody ever wants to make an error on their expat tax return, the IRS has a way to make the necessary corrections via an amended tax return, filed on Form 1040X. By filing the amended return, you can claim an additional refund you are owed or pay an additional tax you owe due to your tax liability change. Please note that in some cases, you won’t need to amend your return at all, even if there was an error or omission. If the error was from a miscalculation, the IRS might automatically correct the error.
What are Typical Scenarios Requiring An Expat to Amend Their Returns?
- To change their filing status
- To add additional information, such as a dependent
- To add additional forms that they did not initially realize needed to be included in the return, such as FATCA Form 8938 to report foreign financial accounts and other foreign assets
- To add non-US source income which they neglected to include on the return
- To claim credits or deductions not claimed on the original return – for example, the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit for expats who are parents of a qualifying child, or prior-year foreign tax credit carryovers
What is the Due Date for Filing an Amended Return?
Expats must file the amended return within three years of the date that the original return was filed, or within two years from the date they paid the original tax liability, whichever is later.
What is the Process for Amending a Federal Return?
- The tax year for which the return is being amended should be written on the top of page 1 of Form 1040X
- If the revisions include another form or schedule, that form or schedule needs to be attached to the amended return
- If an additional refund is being claimed beyond the original refund, expats should wait until they receive the original refund, before filing the amended return
- Any additional tax due should be paid with the amended return, to avoid the accrual and imposition of additional penalty and interest. Interest is charged on any tax not paid by the due date of the original return.
- In the past, the IRS only accepted paper-filed amended returns. In 2020 the IRS began accepting e-filed amended returns, for 2019 and subsequent tax years.
Depending on the types of amendments made to your federal return, you may need to amend a state tax return filed for the same tax year.
Expats should retain all documentation related to the revisions made to prepare the amended return, in case the IRS requests it via a subsequent notice or audit.
Universal Tax Professionals offers a flat rate fee to amend a federal return As part of the process of preparing your amended return, we will ensure that you are maximizing your potential foreign earned income exclusion, foreign tax credits and any other applicable credits, to obtain the most favorable tax result for you. Contact us today to get started!