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You've clicked "send" on your tax return or you've sent off the paper tax returns. And then you realize that you made a mistake. You forgot to include some income or you forgot to take an important deduction. Or worse. You got a tax form from a business just now, and realize that you have to include those numbers on your taxes.

Don't worry. You can fix your tax return by filing an amended return, Form 1040-X. Most likely, you'll also need to fix your state tax return, so look for an "X" form on your state's website. Watch out, though. If you've never filled out an amended tax return, the form can be a bit confusing. You might be best off hiring a tax preparer to help you with this.

Here's an important point: If your revised income tax return is going to cause you to owe money to the government, get it in with your payment as soon as possible. You will be charged penalties and interest for the entire time that the amount due was outstanding (which might be sometime during last year, the end of last year, or the date you originally filed your return, depending upon your circumstances).

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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How to Write Off Sales Taxes

For the years 2005 through 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) permits you to write off either your state and local income tax or sales taxes when itemizing your deductions. People who live in a state that does not impose income taxes often benefit most from this deduction. However, you might also be better off deducting sales taxes instead of income taxes if you make large purchases during the year and your total sales tax payments exceed those for state income tax. You can use either the actual sales taxes you paid or the IRS optional sales tax tables.

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