What to do when you made a mistake on a tax return

Last updated:

January 19, 2024

(Tax year: 2021)

Don’t worry! You can submit an update to your tax return called an “amendment”.  Whether you should wait to submit an “amendment” or should do one immediately depends on the nature of the mistake and whether you are getting a refund or owe taxes. Amendments can be done by the person who prepared your taxes or using the same software you initially used to file. Some amendments must be sent in by paper mail to the IRS, and others can be submitted electronically.

A common mistake we are seeing this year is that families may not be applying the Lookback policy to their 2021 taxes, so they are receiving refunds but the refunds are not as large as they should be. In this case, for example, we have been told by many that it’s best to wait for your original refund to be processed before submitting an amendment to the IRS. The IRS is so understaffed this year, that many fear that if you submit the amendment while the IRS is still working on your first refund that it may slow down that initial process.