Hello, I’m Scott from TurboTax with some information about changing your filing status on an amended return. Do you need to correct the filing status on a past return? Are you concerned that if you file an amended return that it will trigger an IRS audit? If so—don’t be.
Amending a return is not unusual and it doesn’t raise any red flags with the IRS. In fact, the IRS doesn’t want you to overpay or underpay your taxes because of mistakes you make on the original return you file. So regardless of whether you selected a filing status you later realized you were ineligible for, or realize you could have reduced your tax bill even more by choosing one filing status over another—fear of an IRS audit shouldn’t stop you from filing an amended return.
Understanding a little bit about how the IRS chooses tax returns for audit may provide you with a little more comfort. Whenever someone files an original or amended tax return, the same audit selection process prevails. The IRS first uses a computer program to compare the information on your return to a random sample of returns from similar taxpayers. If the program picks up on something out of the ordinary—your return is flagged. But this doesn’t mean you will be audited just yet. An auditor from the IRS will personally review your return to determine whether there are reasonable explanations for the items you reported on your return. If the auditor is satisfied, they will not pursue an audit. But if the auditor recommends your return for audit, they will forward it to a different audit group.
Even at this point, the manager of the audit group who receives your return will review it one last time to insure that it’s worthy of an audit. Only when this manager determines your return should be audited, will you be hearing from an IRS representative. In the event you are chosen for a tax audit, remember that it’s merely a review of your return. As long as you accurately report your income, deductions, filing status or only make mistakes that are inadvertent, you have nothing to worry about.
If you are only changing your filing status, one way to minimize your chances of an audit is to provide a thorough explanation on your 1040X as to why you are choosing a different one. If you are eligible to use it, and could have reported it on your original return, an auditor will not make you change it again.
Remember, when you use TurboTax to file your tax return, we’ll automatically check it for errors, and we guarantee our calculations are 100% accurate. You’ll also get our Audit Support Guarantee, which includes free one-on-one audit guidance from an experienced tax professional, by phone or live chat. For more information about this and other tax topics, visit TurboTax.com.