Have you ever heard of a Superseded Tax Return?

Here is the scenario. You filed your 1040 on February 1 in the hopes of getting your refund fast. Three weeks later you receive a 1099 in the mail that was not included on your return. Worse, it was for a sizable amount of money that you had assumed was non-taxable since the 1099 was not received in January. Without a doubt, the IRS is going to hit you with a balance due. What’s more, the 20% accuracy penalty is going to be assessed on top of that. Are you up the creek without a paddle?

Not necessarily. The Internal Revenue Manual (03-18-2022) refers to “Superseding Returns” and defines these as either an amended return (1040-X) or a corrected (duplicate) return filed after the first return but before the April 15th due date. This IRM requires IRS employees to adjust their databases to reflect the corrected return information. (Hint: It would be a great idea to write “Superseding Return” at the top of the new tax return). The fact that you have correctly filed your return by the due date removes the potential for any penalties other than failure to pay and estimated tax penalties.

This procedure does have an important limitation. While you can correct income and deductions, you cannot modify any irrevocable elections that were made on the first return. Elections such as filing jointly are irrevocable and cannot be reversed with a superseding return.

Author: Jim Payne

Jim Payne, a Florida Certified Public Accountant (CPA) since 1976, offers candid insights on getting square with the IRS — with the least pain, and at the lowest cost — with (or without) the help of a tax representative. Mr. Payne is a former IRS agent and expert in business profitability, IRS audits, IRS payroll tax, and IRS non-filer issues. As a Tax Representative, his goal is clear: " I will speak on your behalf to all IRS agents, so you never have to, and I'll guide you in executing a strategy to resolve your IRS problem so you can get back to enjoying life."

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