US tax question
April 13, 2016 10:18 AM   Subscribe

I'm having some confusion with my (USA) taxes, involving estimated payments and refunds.

I hate to burn a question on taxes, but I could really use some help/advice/suggestions.

I freelanced part of last year but didn't make very much at all (around 3k). I started a full-time job in August, where I also don't make very much.

As part of my taxes last year, I expected that I would be freelancing more successfully and set up estimated payments which the IRS auto-deducted from my bank account. I paid quarterly payments that were FAR more than necessary for what I was making as a freelancer (~$1200 per quarter).

On the September autodeduction of ~$1200, i didn't have enough money in my bank account, so the IRS returned my payment.

I did my taxes this year using TaxAct and it calculated a ~$5k refund.

When I was doing my taxes, I forgot to incorporate the fact that the September estimated payment was returned and thus I did not pay estimated taxes that quarter. I adjusted in TaxAct and the new refund came out to ~$4k. I printed and filled out a 1040X to amend it and prepared a check to send to the IRS to give the returned $1200 back. I didn't mail this yet because I was waiting for the refund so I could afford the payment.

Yesterday I received my refund from the IRS and it was ~$4k, but $30 less than my adjusted refund according to TaxAct. I was expecting the IRS would deposit the ~$5k, which I would then return part of due to the returned payment.

Did the IRS figure out my mistake and adjust for it? Should I still mail the check and 1040x that I have ready to go? It's kind of a lot of money for me to just send away $1200 (and then my total refund would be down to ~3k, pretty far from the TaxAct results) so I don't want to send it unless I absolutely need to. Should I call the IRS (ugh) to figure this out?
posted by ghostbikes to Work & Money (5 answers total)
The IRS likely figured out your mistake. You should get a letter in a few days. But call them if you want to be sure.
posted by zippy at 10:24 AM on April 13, 2016

Don't you love the way then send a check without any documentation of what it's for?

Since amount of the refund check was approximately what you would have gotten if you had reported correctly, I think that the IRS did substitute their records of your estimated taxes paid for whatever you put on your return. And since the amount of taxes that you would owe in any audit (or other form of scrutiny) is about zero, I'd call an end to worrying about 2015 income tax.
posted by SemiSalt at 10:28 AM on April 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yes, the IRS will correct your taxes if you make an obvious mistake. In fact, 99.44% of the time they could do your taxes for you. This is why it is rarely a big deal to make a mistake. The $30 is probably a fee for the rejected withdrawal.
posted by kindall at 10:30 AM on April 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

got my explanation letter from the IRS yesterday, thanks everyone!
posted by ghostbikes at 12:13 PM on April 19, 2016

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