Can I Amend Previous Tax Returns to Correct Any Errors or Omissions Related to My Expat Status?
Taxes are difficult whether you are filing from the United States or living abroad. As such, many American expats make unintentional tax mistakes and must fix them. A CPA can help you file an amendment from overseas.
American citizens can file amendments correcting mistakes, errors, or omissions on their taxes, even while living abroad. Tax mistakes are more common than many people realize, and they are especially common for people living abroad whose tax obligations might be very different or complicated. Common reasons people submit amendments include forgetting important information such as taxable income or dependents or providing incorrect information. To amend your taxes, you and a CPA must fill out Form 1040X and submit any additional forms or paperwork as necessary. Failure to correct tax mistakes with an amendment might get you into trouble.
If you are an expat living abroad and need to file an amendment to your taxes, call US Tax Help at (541) 362-9127 and ask our US tax accountants for help.
Amending your Tax Returns as a U.S. Expat
Filing taxes while living abroad as an expat can be challenging. If you discover you made a mistake on your taxes, it might not be too late to fix it. Our U.S. tax accountants can help you file an amendment and correct your tax situation.
Expats who have made mistakes on their taxes have no more than 3 years from the date they initially filed or 2 years from when they paid original tax liabilities to submit an amendment, whichever is later.
This lengthy deadline allows people much time to realize their mistakes, find legal help, and fix their tax returns. This is especially important for expats who might have difficulty amending their tax returns from overseas.
Many expats want to know if filing an amendment has penalties or consequences. While you might encounter financial penalties, such as late fees or accrued interest, you are unlikely to be penalized simply for filing an amendment.
If you make a mistake on your taxes, the IRS wants you to be able to fix it. The IRS is primarily concerned with getting any money owed to it. If you catch a mistake and take the proper steps to fix it, the IRS will likely not penalize you.
Common Reasons U.S. Expats Amend Their Tax Returns
As you likely already know, taxes are not simple, and mistakes are normal. Many expats find themselves filing amendments because they provided incorrect information on their taxes. Perhaps you recently had a child and forgot to include them as a dependent on your taxes. Maybe you have a small side gig that helps you earn extra income, but you forgot to include that income on your taxes. Maybe you recently got married, and you and your spouse made a mistake when filing as married for the first time.
These are very common mistakes that the IRS is more than prepared to deal with. Do not feel scared or intimidated when trying to fix these minor issues. However, if you realize the mistake, you should take steps to correct it as soon as possible. Realizing you provided false information but choosing to ignore the problem might be seen as fraud by the IRS.
How to Amend Errors on Your U.S. Tax Returns as an Expat
The key to submitting your amendment and correcting tax mistakes is Form 1040X. We can help you fill out this form and attach any other necessary forms. Generally, the form should include details about the tax mistake you are correcting and information needed to correct the mistake. It should be made very clear on the form that you are filing an amendment. If necessary, you should even write “AMENDMENT” at the top of the form to avoid any clerical errors.
Some expats amend their taxes because the U.S. government owes them more money in tax returns. This might be because you forgot to claim dependents or missed important tax credits or exclusions in your initial filings. In such cases, you should wait until you receive your tax return from your original tax filing. Once received, we can work on submitting the amendment, and you should get any remaining money owed to you.
Other expats are filing because they owe the IRS more than originally thought. Perhaps you claimed too many dependents or forgot to include taxable income on your original filing. In that case, you should submit any additional payments along with your amendment to avoid possible monetary penalties or interest.
What Happens if I Do Not Amend Mistakes on My U.S. Tax Returns as an Expat?
The IRS often understands unintentional mistakes, especially when taxpayers recognize them and try to fix them as quickly as possible. However, you might risk civil penalties, fines, fees, and possibly even criminal charges if you know about the mistake but ignore it.
You might incur monetary penalties, such as fines, fees, or higher interest on your overdue payment. Financial penalties are usually based on the amount of tax you owe. The more money you owe as part of your tax amendment, the higher the possible penalties might be. Many expats face small fees if they contact a CPA and try to rectify the problem as soon as possible.
Penalties might be small and more manageable for those who do not owe that much money. If you owe a great deal of money, you should talk to a CPA about how to deal with possible penalties.
If the IRS owes you money, there should be no penalties.
If you realize the mistake but do nothing to correct it, you might find yourself in hot water. While the initial mistake might have been unintentional, ignoring it and doing nothing might land you in trouble. Depending on the mistake, whether you owe additional money to the IRS, and the amount you might owe, you might face serious civil or criminal penalties.
The IRS might consider your failure to amend taxes you know are incorrect as submitting false or misleading information to defraud the government. The longer you wait to file an amendment, the more suspicious the IRS might become. Talk to a CPA as soon as you realize the mistake.
Contact the team at US Tax help About Amending Your Tax Returns
If you are an expat and realize you made a mistake on your taxes, call US Tax Help at (541) 362-9127 and ask our US tax accountants for expats for help.