5 Steps to Surviving an IRS Audit

This post originally appeared on Daily Finance.

A letter from the IRS is one of the scariest things you’ll ever get. If you’re unlucky enough to have an IRS audit, hiring a tax professional to help you get through the process is your best bet to stay calm and survive relatively unscathed.

But if you can’t afford to bring in a pro, here are some tips that will you help you survive your audit.

1. Don’t Ignore an IRS Audit

The worst thing you can do is pretend like an audit letter never came. Instead, follow the instructions on your letter, with particular attention to replying within the specified time frame. Doing so will help you avoid getting off on the wrong foot.

2. Don’t Be Defensive

Just because your return gets chosen for an audit doesn’t automatically mean you’ve done anything wrong. The IRS chooses some audits based on a computerized scoring system, which looks for certain elements that commonly lead to tax abuse. In other cases, records from your employer or from financial institutions that pay you interest or dividend income may provide information that’s different from what you’ve listed on your return. Regardless, it pays to keep an optimistic viewpoint, as many taxpayers get through audits without owning a penny — and sometimes even get extra refunds back.

3. Get the Information You Need to Support Disputed Items

Usually, the audit letter will note specific items the IRS is interested in. Gather and organize your records on those items to support your claims, and if you don’t have documentation, take steps to get it before your audit date. Without records, the auditor may simply rule against you. Moreover, make copies for the auditor to take so that you can keep your originals.

4. Bring Only What You’re Asked For

Just like lawyers tell people not to volunteer extra information on the witness stand, be sure to stay on point in your audit. Don’t talk about unrelated topics, and don’t bring additional information or records to an audit if the IRS didn’t request them. That way, you’ll be more likely to keep the auditor focused on the specific issues in the audit and avoid a wild goose-chase that could result in extra issues coming up.

5. Being Nice Can Make a Big Difference

IRS auditors are used to be treated like dirt, but that doesn’t mean they like it. Just as being nice to a police officer can turn an expensive speeding ticket into a warning, staying courteous with your auditor can sometimes mean the difference between winning and losing.

For more on the audit process, be sure to check out IRS Publication 556 as well as this simple guide to your rights as a taxpayer.

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The Tax Mistake That Cost Me Thousands

Via LearnVest By Cheryl Lock ~

When my pay was direct-deposited into my checking account every two weeks while I was working my first full-time freelance job, I’d think, “Wow, that’s a decent amount of money. I can totally live off this!”

No one ever told me (and I never bothered to ask) why my paycheck seemed so large, so I lived it up for an entire year—eating out, going to plays, buying new clothes and taking trips.

Then April rolled around: tax time. In all fairness, I knew that I hadn’t been paying taxes on the money I was making as a freelancer. I just had no idea how much I actually should have been setting aside from each paycheck. I now know that I should have been saving at least 33% to 35% of every paycheck to put toward taxes. Hindsight … you know what they say.

In the end, I owed a little over $3,000. My accountant practically cried when she gave me the news—and a full-blown panic attack.

Well, it turns out that I’m not the only one befuddled by taxes—especially now that the new tax laws have been put in place for 2013. We found three readers to share their own horror stories in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, it will never happen to you.

The $40K Bill Bombshell

In 2010, Heidi Saucedo’s husband was working in Egypt for two months. While he was away, Saucedo received an envelope from the IRS, which revealed a bill for $40,000.

“After I picked myself up off the floor, I had to contact the hubby … by Facebook chat,” she says. “Can you imagine going through all the back-and-forth required for that via chat?”

The problem was that Heidi and her husband had not filed a tax return in five years, since money was tight while she stayed home with their two children. “I just didn’t understand that we could possibly owe nothing—I thought we would be charged for everything we owned,” Saucedo says. “I knew this was foolish, but we were living paycheck to paycheck, and we were too proud to ask for assistance.”

Her husband was also working under a 1099—meaning that he wasn’t a full-time employee, so he was taxed at the end of the year instead of out of every paycheck. “Apparently, I had ‘known’ this (my husband says that we discussed it), but to this day, I swear I had no clue,” Saucedo says.

After using TurboTax to figure out the tax deductions that hadn’t been included in that $40,000 bill (like standard deductions and the child tax credit), it turned out that they didn’t owe anything. “At the time, I chose not to go to a professional since the gist of the letter from the IRS was that all we needed to do was file our taxes,” Saucedo says. “I was pretty overwhelmed, and I didn’t have any money to pay a CPA, so I signed up for TurboTax.”

“The good thing was that when I began the search for anything and everything that I could get my hands on to rectify the situation,” Saucedo adds, “I realized that I love doing taxes. Never again will there be an unfiled return!”

LearnVest is the leading lifestyle and personal finance website for women.

The post The Tax Mistake That Cost Me Thousands appeared first on SuperMoney!.

The States With the Highest Taxes in the US

Via LearnVest By Sheryl Nance-Nash for The Fiscal Times ~

high tax statesThis post originally appeared in The Fiscal Times.

With the passage of the fiscal cliff deal and the expiration of the payroll tax holiday, most Americans will be paying more taxes this year – but the hike could hurt more depending on what state you live in.

Maryland

What earned Maryland its place among the bottom dwellers? It’s the sixth worst state for individual income taxes, fifth worst for unemployment insurance and the 11th worst state for property taxes. Its one bright spot is its sales tax, where it ranked the 8th best state due to the minimal local sales taxes imposed. According to the report, the Northrop Grumman Corporation chose to move its headquarters out of Maryland and into Virginia, citing the better business tax climate there.

Iowa

The Hawkeye State gets a black eye for being the second worst state for corporate taxes, with a 12 percent rate. It also ranks 37th in property taxes, 33rd in individual income taxes and 34th in unemployment insurance taxes.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin is the fifth worst state for individual income tax rates and ranks 32nd in corporate and 33rd in property taxes. Wisconsin also imposes an Alternative Minimum Tax on individuals. According to the report, states that have mimicked the federal AMT have put themselves at a competitive disadvantage through needless tax complexity.

North Carolina

North Carolina is the seventh worst state overall, and is also the eighth worst for individual income tax rates and the forth worst for sales taxes. However, the state’s corporate taxes are decent (ranking 29th) and unemployment insurance taxes rank 5th in the nation.

Minnesota

Minnesota’s ranking takes a beating for its corporate tax rate, which is among the highest in the nation at 9.8 percent and is ranked 44th out of 50 states. Minnesota is also 44th in individual income taxes, 40th in unemployment insurance taxes and 35th in sales taxes. Minnesota not only has an Alternative Minimum Tax on individual incomes, but also has an AMT on corporations.

Rhode Island

This state has the dubious distinction of being the worst state for unemployment insurance taxes: It taxes employers in a variety of ways for unemployment insurance, with a number of different tax rates and extra surtaxes. Moreover, its 4.88 percent effective rate for property taxes is ranked 46th. The state also ranks 42nd for corporate taxes, with a 9 percent corporate rate. Rhode Island has the second-highest cigarette tax, which is $3.50 per pack of cigarettes.

Vermont

Vermont gets slammed for high property taxes, which are the third worst in the nation with a 5.27 effective rate. The state’s high individual income tax rate (the top marginal individual income tax is 8.95 percent) and high corporate tax rates helped it earn its spot as the fourth worst tax state in the nation.

LearnVest is the leading lifestyle and personal finance website for women.

The post The States With the Highest Taxes in the US appeared first on SuperMoney!.

9 Tax Filing Mistakes to Avoid

Via LearnVest By Alden Wicker ~

We know why you’re here.

It’s OK–fearing tax season is perfectly reasonable because when it comes to deductions, credits and filing status, there’s a lot to learn–and mess up. (Don’t shoot the messenger! Write to Congress!)

Our goal is to keep you far away from IRS auditors, while making sure that you pay as little as (legally!) possible. We’ve broken down the top mistakes you should avoid point by point–translated from IRS speak–so you can sleep soundly at night.

1. Don’t … Keep Poor Records

Unless you have devastatingly simple finances (no real estate property, one salaried job, simple or no investments, etc.), then you’ll need to keep yourself organized for tax season, so you’re not left scrambling to find documentation or fudging the numbers on your return–that can set you up for an audit!

What to do: Make sure you have easy access to all of these records from the past year:

  • Government confirmation of your return and refund from last year. Order a return transcript from the IRS.
  • Records of charitable donations, including receipts. Charitable organizations often send out a year-end summary of how much you donated. If yours doesn’t, contact them to request a receipt or use bank statements or cancelled checks.
  • Large medical or dental bills
  • Records of business or job hunting costs
  • Forms from your job(s) showing how much income you’ve made. You can request documentation of your salary from your HR department, if they haven’t sent it to you already. (If you have a full-time job, that will be your W-2. If you freelance, you’ll need 1099s from each client.)
  • Purchases, sales and improvements to real estate property
  • All actions in your investment and IRA accounts. Most online brokerages will keep records for you–just log in to download your documents.

Better yet, get yourself into a paperless filing system, such as linking your accounts in LearnVest’s Money Center, so that you have a searchable database of transactions and donations.

2. Don’t … Pay for an Accountant You Don’t Need (or Fail to Get One When You Should)

If you have simple finances–you are a salaried employee, and don’t hold complicated or high volume investments, for example–all you need is a couple of hours to do the job yourself through an online filing program. (Bonus: You’ll save yourself a few hundred.) But if your finances are complicated, you risk losing out on deductions and credits that could make paying a professional worth it.

What to do: If you think that you should probably have an accountant, ask friends and family for a referral or visit AICPA.org to search for an accredited accountant. Just be aware that you may be charged more for a rush job. If you cannot find one at the last minute, take our Ace Your Taxes Bootcamp, and make full use of our tax resources in the Knowledge Center to answer any questions.

3. Don’t … Choose the Wrong Filing Status

Your filing status (single, married filing jointly, married filing separately or head of household) determines how you treat many tax decisions, such as what forms you’ll fill out, which deductions and credits you’ll take and how much you will pay (or save) in taxes. Select the wrong status, and it will trigger a cascade of mistakes–maybe even an audit. On top of that, if you decide to file jointly with your spouse, this means you’re responsible for any errors or deliberate falsehoods on your partner’s return, so make sure that you’re comfortable with what it says.

RELATED: Pleading Innocent: When Your Husband Is a Financial Criminal

What to do: Use our filing status flowchart to decide which status is right for you. If you’ve already filed with the wrong status, submit an amended return.

LearnVest is the leading lifestyle and personal finance website for women.

The post 9 Tax Filing Mistakes to Avoid appeared first on SuperMoney!.

Why Sin Taxes Are So Good

Via LearnVest By Alden Wicker ~

Let’s say you’re the government, and there’s an unhealthy, dangerous, costly and environmentally damaging behavior you want to discourage. Plus, you could use some revenue.

A handy solution: sin taxes. They’re those benevolent or heavy-handed (depending on who you ask) revenue generators that want to change the world for the better.

Call them misguided or enlightened, but sin taxes are here to stay–because they are so darn effective. In fact, you probably already pay at least one.

What Merits Taxing?

Three things are likely to get a sin tax passed:

1. An obvious externality. This is the side effect of a behavior from health care costs imposed on governments and insurance companies by things like obesity, smoking and deaths from drunk driving accidents.

2. Demonstrable benefit. If possible, legislators and voters like to see that a tax decreases the undesirable behavior before implementing it.

3. Revenue for a good cause. To convince citizens that a brand-new tax merits taking their money, tell them how you’ll spend it.

Here are some notable examples of taxes that have passed with flying colors, as well as taxes that have utterly failed.

1. Cigarettes

Smoking costs the U.S. nearly $200 billion in health care costs and lost productivity each year. All 50 states have a cigarette tax, ranging from $0.17 per pack in Missouri to $4.35 in New York. Stacked on top of this are separate taxes from the federal government, as well as many cities (New York City has a $5.85 total tax) and even some counties.

It’s also the most studied tax, providing us a glimpse into the benefits and unintended consequences of sin taxes. In 2009, the federal cigarette tax rose from $0.39 to $1.01 per pack, lifting cigarette prices by 22% overnight. The tax reduced the number of smokers by about 3 million from 2009 to 2012, according to surveys from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Unfortunately, the cigarette tax is regressive–it hits low-income people the hardest. Families earning less than $50,000 a year make up half the U.S. population, and two-thirds of smokers. In New York state, low-income smokers (earning under $30,000 a year) spend an astonishing 25% on average of their income on cigarettes. That’s more than we recommend you spend on all Lifestyle Choices combined!

An easy fix to New York’s (and most other states’) low-income problem would be to use the tax revenue to provide free resources to help smokers quit. But like many states, New York funnels most of the tax revenue into the broader state budget.[6] According to a report by the American Lung Association, 42 states, plus D.C., failed to invest even 50% of what is recommended by the CDC in proven prevention programs.

LearnVest is the leading lifestyle and personal finance website for women.

The post Why Sin Taxes Are So Good appeared first on SuperMoney!.

What to Do if You Can’t Afford to Pay Your Taxes

Via LearnVest By Alden Wicker ~

If you owe money to the IRS for taxes this season, but you don’t have enough cash in your bank account to cut the check, all is not lost. First things first: Make sure to file your return. That way, you avoid the failure-to-file penalty.

Next, decide how much you can pay. The more you pay down now, the less you will pay in interest and the monthly late payment penalty.

Then, depending on your circumstances, you can request an extra 120 days to pay, either through the Online Payment Agreement application or by calling 800-829-1040.

It’s important you address this now, because if you don’t pay or get an extension, the IRS will send you a bill for the amount you owe, which starts the collection process, somewhere you don’t want to be–both for your emotional and financial state.

If you don’t think you can make the deadline, you have several options:

If You Owe …

Less Than $300: Put It on Your Credit Card

This is the easiest way to do it. If you are just waiting for a paycheck and can pay it off at the end of the month, there’s no reason not to put it on your credit card. If you think you will be carrying a balance if you use your credit card to pay, use this calculator to figure out how much it will cost you to pay the interest on it. A good rule of thumb is that if you owe the IRS less than $300 and you plan on paying it off within the year, this is a good option.

Between $300 and $1,000: Take Out a Loan

You could consider taking out a personal loan, but make sure you are getting it from a good source such as a credit union, which can give you a loan at about 11%. This is a good choice if what you owe to the IRS is less than $1,000 and you’re planning on paying it back within the year. You’ll pay about $88 a month to pay it off over a year, adding up to $56 in interest.

More Than $1,000: Set Up an Installment Plan

The IRS will charge you a fee for setting up an installment program, so we only recommend this if you owe more than $1,000 or so. If you do a direct debit agreement, where regular amounts are transferred directly from your financial institution, the fee is $52. If you do a standard agreement or payroll deduction, the fee is $105. Or, if your income is below a certain threshold based on the federal poverty guidelines, it will cost you $43. You’ll have to apply to qualify for the reduced fee.

If You Can’t Pay at All

If you are unable to pay the IRS at all for what you owe, you may request a temporary delay in the collections process or apply for an Offer in Compromise. You can only use these options if there is doubt as to whether the amount you owe is correct, what you owe is larger than your assets and future income together or you are currently suffering economic hardship. Call the IRS using the number on your bill to talk to a representative about doing this, or find all the forms here.

Whatever your situation, don’t ever just ignore your tax bill!  Contact the IRS right away so that you don’t get nailed with big penalties on top of what is owed, and you’ll have one less stress in your life!

LearnVest is the leading lifestyle and personal finance website for women.

The post What to Do if You Can’t Afford to Pay Your Taxes appeared first on SuperMoney!.

How to File Your Tax Return

Via LearnVest By Alden Wicker ~

You may have done the hard work to find your deductions and credits, choose your filing status, and even itemize, but it’s all for naught if you don’t file your tax return!

Thanks to technology, filing your return is getting easier and easier. But there are still some nuances to know. Find out which way you should file—electronically or by mail—and how to do it.

Electronic or Paper Filing?

E-filing is the preferred way to file, because it is faster, more convenient and more secure than paper filing.

Think about it: If you e-file, all your information is automatically entered into the system, while a paper return has to be retyped by an IRS employee, which introduces more opportunity for errors. If you e-file, you’ll get confirmation within 48 hours that your return was received. You can get your refund (if you have one) deposited directly to your account more quickly, typically in as few as ten days. For e-file users, you also have more payment options, including setting up an automatic payment withdrawal date for any day before the April due date. You can also pay by paper check or even by credit card!

However, there are some instances where you are not able to file an electronic return. You must paper file if:

  • You’re married, but filing a separate return, and you live in a community property state 
  • You are claiming a dependent who has already been claimed by someone else
  • You are filing forms that require paper documentation. For example, the first-time homebuyer credit requires paper filing
  • You file before e-filing begins (it started on January 30th this year) or after it ends (October)

How to File an Electronic Return

There are several ways to file electronically:

If you’re paying a tax professional to prepare your return, they will e-file for you. Many are required by law to e-file, but still make sure to mention it to them so you get your refund faster.

If you are using commercial tax software, e-filing is included. Just submit through the software when you are done. Incidentally, e-filing is including in the discount TaxACT package every participant in our Ace Your Taxes Bootcamp receives.

If you’re preparing your own return, you can file for free. Those who have an AGI under $57,000 can use what the IRS calls Free File. If your AGI is over $57,000, you can use fillable forms, which are electronic versions of the IRS’s paper forms and are still free.

How to File a Paper Return

If you need to file a paper form, or just prefer paper forms and don’t mind the longer wait for your refund, you can do it the old-fashioned way. The IRS will not mail you your forms ahead of time like they used to, so first you’ll need to pick and download your forms. Find out which ones you need.

When you’re ready to send in your return, make sure your name and Social Security Number are on the front and back of every page. Make a photocopy of your return for your records. Then, check the IRS for where to send your return, according to which state you live in.

We recommend you send your return by registered or certified mail. You will be able to track its progress and see that it was delivered. Make sure the registered date is on or before April 15, 2013, this year’s filing date.

You can also send by private delivery service. Use an IRS-approved one such as DHL, FedEx or UPS, but beware that private delivery services cannot mail to post office boxes, so you must use the addresses in this list. Whichever mailing service you use, save your receipt.

LearnVest is the leading lifestyle and personal finance website for women.

The post How to File Your Tax Return appeared first on SuperMoney!.

What to Do if You Can’t File Your Taxes on Time

Via LearnVest By Alden Wicker ~

We know, we know: Taxes take time.

And sometimes, you can’t get around to filing your taxes by the April 15th deadline.

Of course, you’re not the first person to land in this predicament. Every year, about 7% of taxpayers file for a six-month extension.

But if this is the first year you find yourself in this group, read on to find everything you need to know about filing an extension.

First, an Extension Is Not an Extension to Pay

Filing for an extension means you get an extension to file the paperwork. You must still pay what you estimate you owe, however. If you don’t pay on time, the IRS will charge you interest and maybe even penalties that could increase your tax bill by 25% or more. If you have time to file the paperwork, but you don’t quite have the funds to pay, then read this article for your options.

How to Get More Time

Asking for an extension isn’t like college where you had to make your case (read: beg) your professor for more time to turn in your term paper. The IRS calls it an automatic extension for a reason: They will automatically grant it if you ask.

First, estimate your taxes. Fill out as much of your 1040 as you can (find out which 1040 to use). You’ll use the figure from there to fill out Form 4868. Then, choose from these three options to file the extension:

1. Electronically file Form 4868 with your tax preparer or your tax software program (like the TaxACT software that comes discounted with the Ace Your Taxes Bootcamp).

2. Send in Form 4868 to the IRS by snail mail.

3. Pay your estimated taxes using a credit or debit card. You can do this online or by phone, and you must pay at least $1. Even if you are not filing Form 4868, we still recommend you download it or go through the process of filling it out through your software program. It will help you estimate the taxes you owe so you can pay them.

Whatever option you choose, you need to e-file, postmark the physical copy of Form 4868, or pay your estimated taxes by April 15th this year. Form 4868 tells you exactly where to send it if you’re going by snail mail.

What if You Don’t Ask for an Extension?

If you don’t ask for an extension and don’t file on time, the IRS usually charges 5% of the taxes you owe each month your return is late, all the way up to 25%. If your return is more than 60 days late, the IRS will charge you a penalty of at least $135 or the entire balance of tax due on your return, whichever is smaller.

However, you might not owe the penalty if you have a reasonable explanation for filing late. Attach a statement to your return fully explaining the reason, but do not attach the statement to Form 4868. We suggest avoiding this option if possible! It’s a risky strategy.

Special Exceptions

You may get extra time to file even without filing an extension. Are you:

  • Living outside the United States? Read more.
  • Serving in a combat zone or a qualified hazardous duty area? Read more.

When You’re Ready to File

Note any payment you made with your form 4868. You’ll enter this on:

  • Line 68 on Form 1040
  • Line 41 on Form 1040A, or
  • Line 9 on Form 1040EZ

And make sure to file before October 15th, 2013 if you’ve gotten the extension!

LearnVest is the leading lifestyle and personal finance website for women.

The post What to Do if You Can’t File Your Taxes on Time appeared first on SuperMoney!.

Once You Finish Your Taxes, Change Your Withholding

Via LearnVest By Alden Wicker ~

Your taxes are filed and done. Victory dance?

Actually, hold on. There’s one more step you should take.

Before you X out of this window and head off to get a frustration cupcake, let us just tell you about this step, which will save you either money, stress or both.

It’s taking another look at your withholding.

Your withholding is the amount of money that comes out of your paycheck every month to cover your taxes. By taking taxes a little bit at a time, the government makes your tax bill much more palatable. Imagine if you had to save up and pay your whole tax bill all at once? Not fun.

But really, your withholding is based on an estimation of what you’ll owe in taxes. If you’re familiar with the way credits, deductions and exemptions work, you know that many factors affect your total tax bill. When you do finally sit down to calculate your taxes, the reality could be far off that estimate.

The big goal is to get your withholding as close to your actual tax bill as possible. We’ll tell you how to get there.

(By the way, if you are self-employed, there is an equivalent to withholding you should know about.)

If you got a refund larger than $1,000 …

That means your withholding was too high. You might have really enjoyed getting a big check from the government, but it isn’t the smartest financial decision. Let’s say you got a refund for $3,000 (close to the average refund). That means you gave the IRS $3,000 too much in what amounts to an interest-free loan. You could have had that money in your retirement account instead. Even if it only grew by 1% in a savings account, that is $30 you missed out on.

Now, some people use this as a way to save money. We get it! But a better way would be to set up automatic transfers from your checking account to a savings account, which accomplishes the same thing without getting the IRS involved.

If you owed taxes …

That means your withholding was too low, and you got a nasty surprise. (If you owe taxes that you can’t afford, read this post on what to do.) There’s no need to explain why this isn’t ideal! You just got an unexpected bill that might come out of your savings—or add to your debt.

If your withholding was accurate …

You still want to take a look at it if one of these things happened last year or will happen this year:

  • You got or will get married
  • You got or will get divorced
  • You had or will have a child
  • You or your spouse changed or will change jobs
  • You purchased or will purchase a home
  • You got hit with the Alternative Minimum Tax (or if you think you will get hit with it because you got a raise; this tool from the IRS can help you figure that out)
  • You got or will get a windfall, like prize-winnings or a lot of income from investments

LearnVest is the leading lifestyle and personal finance website for women.

The post Once You Finish Your Taxes, Change Your Withholding appeared first on SuperMoney!.

Oops! How to Correct a Mistake on Your Filed Taxes

Via LearnVest By Alden Wicker ~

Sending off your completed tax return is an amazing feeling. Goodbye to all that work until next year!

That is, until you realize you’ve made a mistake.

Maybe an extra 1099 came in the mail. Or you read one of our many tax articles and found out you missed a huge credit that could save you a couple thou. Ummm, what next?

Mistakes happen. So the IRS has a special form just for you: the 1040X. It’s what you use to file an amended return.

Should I File an Amendment?

File an amendment if you:

Don’t file an amendment if:

  • You made a math error in adding or subtracting line items. The IRS will correct these for you.

What if you made a mistake that means you owe the IRS more in taxes, but the IRS didn’t notice? Can’t you just let it slide?

Bad idea. Besides the fact that this is tax fraud, if the IRS does discover this, you will have to pay the tax you owe plus interest that has accrued on it. It’s worth it to make sure you’re all buttoned up.

When You Can File an Amendment

If you filed before the deadline (which is usually April 15th), then you have three years from the deadline date.

So, let’s say that back when you filed taxes in 2010, you failed to claim a deduction for closing costs you incurred in 2009 (and you realized this after reading our post for homeowners). You can file an amended return to claim that deduction up until April 15th 2013, which is three years after the April 15th, 2010 filing deadline.

Let’s say you had a similar situation as above, but you couldn’t pay your taxes outright. You ended up paying the IRS in installments and finally paid off the last of your taxes in June 1, 2011. The IRS gives you more leeway here, giving you two years from when you paid off your taxes or three years from the filing date—whichever is longer—to file an amendment. So in this case, you can file an amendment up until June 1, 2013, which is two years after you finished paying for your 2009 taxes. (Find out what to do if you owe taxes and can’t pay.)

LearnVest is the leading lifestyle and personal finance website for women.

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