Messed up my tax return - what now?
February 19, 2009 10:30 AM   Subscribe

I filed my taxes online about two or three weeks ago, and completely forgot about a mutual fund I own. Or rather, I remembered it, but because I didn't take anything out of it or put anything into it, I didn't think anything of it. Of course, I forgot about the dividends. So, today I get my Form 1099-DIV from Goldman Sachs, and find that I received $71.04 in total ordinary dividends. What should I do? My taxes were filed electronically and I've already received my state refund. Should I just sit on it and if I'm questioned by the IRS, pay the $10 or whatever in extra taxes? Will I get fined a huge amount if I don't alert them now? If I do alert them, how would I go about doing that? Asking anonymously because I feel like an idiot.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (8 answers total)
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:36 AM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

I did something similar, where I forgot to include $1000 in income. I filed an amended tax return for both federal and state, and was surprised when I owed money to both (about $200). I would CYA, just to be on the safe side, and file amended returns.
posted by bolognius maximus at 10:37 AM on February 19, 2009

You just file an amended return on a 1040X. It should be an option in whatever you used to file.

You will get caught if you don't, because one of the basic automatic checks that the IRS does is to make sure you claimed all the W2s and 1099s that they received for you as income.

Also, incidentally, fines are generally based on the amount owed. So you don't get huge fines based on a $15 tax due.
posted by smackfu at 10:38 AM on February 19, 2009

You don't get huge fines but a year or so later when they finally do audit you they will charge heavy interest rates on the money owed.
posted by JJ86 at 11:19 AM on February 19, 2009

Yup, amended return. I had to do one of those a few years ago when I got a (very) late 1099. I filed electronically that year and mailed in my amended return.
posted by geeky at 11:38 AM on February 19, 2009

I think for a trivial amount like that it's not worth the time to file an amended return. They may send you a bill in 3 mos-2 years depending on your tax bracket probably $20, just pay it then.
posted by peter_meta_kbd at 12:22 PM on February 19, 2009

I'd do the amended return, just to feel at ease about it. Especially if you're in a position to pay the tax now.

No offense to peter_meta_kbd, but a 'friend' recommended that I do the exact same thing many years ago, and I did. Then I got audited a few years later, and it sucked. Because I had the money at the time of the original filing, and I didn't when I got audited. I did pay it off on a monthly plan, but having an IRS fine tacked on when I could barely afford food and gas for my car did not help my stress levels any. It was a larger amount, but still. I wouldn't put it off in the hopes you don't get caught.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:39 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't sweat it. Sure, 1040X if it makes you feel better, but the odds that the IRS will chase after you for just $10 are pretty low. You may get a letter pointing out the error at some point.

At the least the 1040X will tell you how much it actually changes your tax owed. If it really is <>
This isn't the sort of thing that triggers an audit, though, and is probably one of the items most often overlooked in filed returns. Audits have been greatly reduced since Congressional hearings in the 1990s and are more often applied to Schedule C filers and others with inchoate forms of income.
posted by dhartung at 1:41 PM on February 20, 2009

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