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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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