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What Are the Best Tips for Claiming Back Tax?

Christine Hudson
Christine Hudson

Claiming back tax overpayment refunds can be complicated. The best tips for claiming back tax in the United States are waiting for an automated refund, calling the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for details, and filing a 1040X tax form. There is a statute of limitations for claiming back taxes, so it's important for anyone who suspects he is owed a refund contact the IRS to find out if there is any reason the refund might be delayed.

The simplest solution for claiming back tax overpayment is to await an automated refund. In fact, automated refunds eventually occur in most cases of tax overpayment. IRS internal systems are designed to detect and refund taxpayer account credits. The government will not retain a refund unless taxes are due for a different year. If this occurs, the taxpayer will receive an IRS "CP 49" notice. This form explains why the IRS retained an overpayment and how it is to be applied.

IRS form 1040X is an amended Individual Income Tax Return.
IRS form 1040X is an amended Individual Income Tax Return.

Taxpayers may also wish to call the IRS. Speaking to a customer service agent can reveal any account holds that may be precluding refund release. If so, the agent may be able to clear the block and auto-mail a refund. The taxpayer should allow four to six weeks for check delivery.

The IRS website provides contact data for the appropriate regional IRS processing center. A detailed letter can be sent that specifies the tax year or years involved and other pertinent information. Relevant documents such as canceled checks and copies of receipts or notices should accompany the letter. The IRS will reply via return mail to advise whether or not the overpayment will be refunded. Taxpayers in disagreement with an IRS decision may file a formal tax appeal.

Another approach is filing an IRS Form 1040X. The form is an amended Individual Income Tax Return, which allows for the addition of new information. This strategy is appropriate in cases of erroneous computation of credits, deductions, or income tax due.

There is a three-year statute of limitations for claiming back tax refunds. Taxpayers who are successful in claiming back tax refunds must receive interest on overpayments that are refunded or applied against other tax liability. This is a very important law to be aware of to ensure that the taxpayer receives the correct amount.

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    • IRS form 1040X is an amended Individual Income Tax Return.
      By: Melpomene
      IRS form 1040X is an amended Individual Income Tax Return.