correcting a wrong SSN on tax forms
April 16, 2012 7:25 PM   Subscribe

After dropping my US tax forms in the mail this afternoon, I discovered that I had mis-typed one of my dependent's SSN on the form. Is there a way to correct this now, or do I need to just wait for them to reject the return and then give them the correct SSN & supporting documentation? As far as I know, everything else was correct.
posted by belladonna to Law & Government (9 answers total)
Have you called the IRS and asked?
posted by thelonius at 7:57 PM on April 16, 2012

Not yet; I didn't realize until nearly 10 pm & have been busy trying to get the little dependents to bed. I figured it would probably involve lots of waiting on hold, so my husband suggested asking the all-knowing metafilter. :)
posted by belladonna at 8:08 PM on April 16, 2012

In the past, I have filed an amended return (Form 1040X) without waiting for the IRS to act on my first, incorrect return. It worked out fine, and is probably what I would do in your situation.
posted by exogenous at 8:21 PM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

According to this, you will have error code 504, and you can correct it by re-filing either electronically or by paper.
posted by thelonius at 8:22 PM on April 16, 2012

Unlike electronic returns, the IRS won't reject mailed-in original tax returns back to the sender. Your return will be processed; you just won't get any credit that came as a result of that dependent's presence on your form. The way I see it, you have two ways to handle this. They both take around the same length of time for resolution.

1.) "Set it and forget it": Send an amended form now with the correct SSN. The time frame for processing an amended return (Form 1040X) is 8 to 12 weeks. After your original tax return is processed, the IRS will recalculate your taxes without the benefit of that dependent and issue a CP12 notice (if you're getting a refund or don't owe money) or a CP11 notice (if you do owe). If you're expecting a refund, just be aware that the presence of an amended return freezes money from going out. The freeze is only lifted after the amended return is processed (8 to 12 weeks).

2.) "Some money now, some money later": Wait the 6 to 8 weeks for your original return to process. The IRS will recalculate your taxes without the benefit of that dependent. If you still show a refund after the recalculation, it will be sent to you. At this point, you'll either receive a CP12 notice or CP11 notice. Once you get the notice, you can call the IRS and tell them the correct SSN over the phone. They'll fix your taxes during the call and, if you're entitled to an additional refund, it will be forthcoming.
posted by texano at 9:57 PM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Quick correction: CP13 is the IRS notice for a miscalculation resulting in a zero balance. I can never keep those things straight. (Facepalm.)
posted by texano at 10:01 PM on April 16, 2012

Thanks, everyone!

I saw that page, thelonius, but it only seems to be for electronically-filed returns & this one was printed & mailed in. I appreciate the time you took to look for info for me, though.

Exogenous - it's good to hear first-hand that just amending immediately worked ok.

I hadn't realized they'd just process the form & recalculate the refund w/o the kid. I'll probably go with texano's option #2, just to get part of the refund as soon as possible. Thanks for breaking things down so clearly, texano.
posted by belladonna at 5:52 AM on April 17, 2012

Texano's #2 seems like the easiest answer. If you are currently in a "tax mood", fill out the amended return now and just hang onto it in case you need it later.

There is a possibility they will either just miss the mistake completely, or that they will fix it automatically. That has happened to me a couple of times (though not regarding SSN issues). I'll get a letter that says "hey clown, you screwed up X. We fixed it. If this is right you don't have to do anything. If WE screwed up the correction, file an amended return."

If they miss it completely, just file the amended return after you get your refund.
posted by gjc at 6:08 AM on April 17, 2012

Texano's answer #2 is exactly what happened. I decided to just wait. They sent me a CP12 notifying me of an adjusted return and I called & talked to someone who corrected the SSN in their system. I'll get part of the refund any day now & the rest in a few weeks.
posted by belladonna at 6:26 AM on May 26, 2012

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