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More than 131 million tax returns have already flooded the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office this year. Of those returns, the IRS projects that “almost five million taxpayers will amend their returns by filing Form 1040X during 2014.”

Many Americans will realize they have made mistakes after their returns have been filed, and they may need to amend their returns. The IRS often corrects math on a return and sometimes accepts returns with specific forms or schedules omitted. If this describes your situation, the IRS urges you not to file an amended return.

Taxpayers should file an amended return for the following reasons: changes in filing status, change in income, forgotten deductions or tax credits. Furthermore, you should only file an amended return after you file your original return.

Same-sex couples should think about filing amended returns. The IRS now considers a same sex couple legally married in a state that acknowledges their marriage.

According to the IRS website you should, “Use Form 1040X (PDF), Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to correct a previously filed Form 1040, Form 1040A, Form 1040EZ, Form 1040NR, or Form 1040NR-EZ.”

If the due date for filing the return has not passed, and you still owe further tax, then you will need to file Form 1040X and pay the tax by the due date for that year. Doing so should help you dodge penalties and interest. “If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, filing the form and paying the tax will be timely if filed or paid the next business day. To determine where you should file Form 1040X, see Where To File in the Form 1040X Instructions (PDF),” according to the IRS website.

If you plan to file an amended return for previous tax years, you will have to file a separate Form 1040X for each year you plan to amend, and mail each form in individual envelopes. Also, write the year of the return you are amending on the first page, and top, of Form 1040X.

Since an amended tax return cannot be filed electronically, it usually takes the IRS 12 weeks to process Form 1040X from the day they receive an amended return. Make sure to include any forms or schedules (such as W-2’s received after you originally filed your tax return) that are being revised due to tax amendments. Remember that tax liability for your state of residence at the time of your return, may be impacted by the changes you make on your federal tax return.

If you have further tax questions, you should contact a tax professional. Amended returns may lead to back taxes owed to the IRS. If you owe the IRS back taxes, the tax resolution attorneys at U.S. Tax Shield can help you clear your IRS debt. Their A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating is testimony to their quality customer care, and tax knowledge.