This March 22, 2013 file photo shows the exterior of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

You completed your tax return and submitted it on time. You thought tax time was behind you, but suddenly you realize that you made a mistake on your return. What can you do? Don’t panic: There is a process for amending your return if you discover you made an error or left something out. The Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) offers practical advice on when it’s best to amend a return and what’s involved.

When should I amend?

You should amend your return if you need to make changes to your reported income, filing status, deductions, or credits. Let’s say you did some part-time work on the weekends last summer and forgot to include that income on your 2016 return. Or maybe you just realized that you’re eligible for the American Opportunity tax credit based on college courses you took last year. These are some examples of reasons for why you may need to send in an amended return.

The IRS will match up W-2 forms and 1099 forms, and send notices to taxpayers when one of these forms is missing. It is up to you, however, to proactively amend returns when items such as K-1s or rental property activities were omitted, as the IRS doesn’t typically send these items. You should also know that just because the IRS sends you a notice that a 1099 form was omitted, that does not mean there aren’t other items that are worthy of an amended return.

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