Tips for Keeping Excellent Tax Records
After you file your taxes, you will have many records that may help document items on your tax return. You will need these documents should the IRS select your return for examination. Here are five tips from the IRS about keeping good records.
- Normally, tax records should be kept for three years. Some documents – such as records relating to a home purchase or sale, stock transactions, IRA and business or rental property – should be kept longer.
- In most cases, the IRS does not require you to keep records in any special manner. Generally speaking, however, you should keep any and all documents that may have an impact on your federal tax return.
- Records you should keep include bills, credit card and other receipts, invoices, mileage logs, canceled, imaged or substitute checks, proofs of payment, and any other records to support deductions or credits you claim on your return.
For more information on what kinds of records to keep, see IRS Publication 552, Recordkeeping for Individuals, which is available on the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov.
Nine Facts for Filing an Amended Return
An amended tax return generally allows you to file again to correct your filing status, your income or to add deductions or credits you may have missed.
Here are nine points the IRS wants you to know about amending your federal income tax return.
- Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to file an amended income tax return.
- Use Form 1040X to correct previously filed Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. An amended return cannot be filed electronically, thus you must file it by paper.
- Generally, you do not need to file an amended return due to math errors. The IRS will automatically make that correction. Also, do not file an amended return because you forgot to attach tax forms such as W-2s or schedules. The IRS normally will send a request asking for those.
- Be sure to enter the year of the return you are amending at the top of Form 1040X. Generally, you must file Form 1040X within three years from the date you filed your original return or within two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.
- If you are amending more than one tax return, prepare a 1040X for each return and mail them in separate envelopes to the appropriate IRS campus. The 1040X instructions list the addresses for the campuses.
- If the changes involve another schedule or form, you must attach that schedule or form to the amended return.
- 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 owe additional 2010 tax, file Form 1040X and pay the tax before the due date to limit interest and penalty charges that could accrue on your account. Interest is charged on any tax not paid by the due date of the original return, without regard to extensions.
- Form 1040X was recently redesigned. Previously the form consisted of three columns; Column A-Original amount, Column B-Net change, and Column C-Correct amount. The redesigned form now has just one column where the Correct Amount is the only figure entered, making it easier to make changes to previously filed returns.