What to Do if You Duplicate Filing Tax Returns?

Tax forms and submission can be time-consuming and confusing for many taxpayers in the US. At some point, you might wonder what happens if you duplicate filing tax returns unintentionally or you need to change an error on your original returns. 

This article will help you answer what to do if you duplicate tax returns and how to correct if you made a mistake on your original tax forms. 

What happens if I duplicate filing tax returns?

The most common concern for most people who discover they have duplicated their tax returns is whether they will be fined.

If you find yourself in this situation, you’ll be happy to hear that you won’t have to pay taxes again in the same year. Individuals who unintentionally file two tax returns won’t also get fined. You wouldn’t face any consequences if you filed your taxes correctly and didn’t under-report your income, even if you completed them twice.

Only people who submit their taxes late or avoid paying their taxes are subject to financial tax penalties.

However, the IRS does not accept filing two federal tax returns. Since your Social Security Number (SSN) has been used to file only one return, the IRS will only accept the first one and automatically reject any additional return filed with that SSN. 

They will also review the highlighted form to determine if the double filing was an error, a sign of fraudulent activity, or an effort at financial crimes. After that, you will probably receive an error code about the second one explaining why it got rejected. 

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What to do if you accidentally duplicate filing tax returns? 

If you accidentally submitted your taxes multiple times, but it does include the same data on both applications, you usually don’t need to do anything else.

When the IRS receives your subsequent tax return, it will review the double filing and will most probably conclude that it was found to be false. In this case, the IRS will immediately dismiss the second form, and you will most likely receive a warning message informing you of this.

On the other hand, if you submit a subsequent tax return to fix a problem on the first, you must file a tax return update using a different form to change errors or oversights in the original return. You need to file and submit Form 1040-X on paper because this form isn’t available online. 

Typically, you will not need to do anything additional at this point. If you previously duplicated your tax returns by email, it may take weeks or months for the IRS to review the two different forms and alert you of the denial. At this point, they should have received your Form 1040-X. After the review, you should ask for confirmation that the data on the initial update has been amended.

If you haven’t heard back from the IRS regarding your updated tax return after three weeks, you should call the IRS’s hotline for customer support. It’s a good idea to track your Form 1040-X‘s progress to be aware of the next steps.

The bottom line

If you don’t want to find yourself wondering what happens if you duplicate filing tax returns, you should consider asking a tax professional to prepare and check your return. A tax professional can help you avoid mistakes in tax filing and even make the best out of your deductions. 

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Tax Tip: E-Filing of Taxes Increasing

Internal Revenue Service Tax Tips on Shoeboxed Blog

Individual taxpayers e-filed almost 90 million tax returns during 2008, an increase of more than 12 percent over the prior year. Of the 155 million tax returns filed, about 58 percent were filed electronically.

“More people with home computers and businesses embraced electronic filing this year,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “Every year, more people realize that electronic filing is the safe, accurate way for taxpayers to complete their taxes and get faster refunds.”

Tax Returns Filed by Individuals

While the total number of returns has increased by 23 percent during the past decade, the number filed electronically has increased by 206 percent.

Year

Total Returns

e-Filed Returns

Percent of total e-filed

1999

125,900,000

29,349,000

23.31%

2000

128,430,000

35,412,000

27.57%

2001

130,965,000

40,244,000

30.73%

2002

131,728,000

46,892,000

35.60%

2003

131,557,000

52,944,000

40.24%

2004

132,200,000

61,507,000

46.53%

2005

133,933,000

68,476,000

51.13%

2006

136,071,000

73,255,000

53.84%

2007

140,188,000

79,979,000

57.05%

2008

155,490,000

89,886,000

57.80%

This year, almost 27 million returns were filed by individuals from their home computers, up from 22.6 million last year ? a 19 percent increase. Filings from home computers accounted for 30 percent of all returns e-filed by individuals. Even though individual tax filings were spurred to unprecedented levels by the economic stimulus payments, the percentage of those e-filed increased to 58 percent.

Free File

During 2008, taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of $54,000 or less, or about 70 percent of individual taxpayers, had the option of choosing to e-file for free through IRS Free File, a partnership between the IRS and some software manufacturers. Almost 4.8 million tax returns were filed through Free File, an increase of 24 percent over last year’s total of almost 3.9 million returns.

Refunds: Direct Deposit and IRS.gov Set Records

More taxpayers chose to receive their refunds through direct deposit during 2008.  The agency made 66 million direct deposit payments in 2008, up 8 percent from 61 million payments at the same time in 2007.

Overall, the IRS issued 107 million tax refund payments in 2008, up almost 2 percent from 105 million refund payments for the same time in 2007. As of Oct. 31, the average refund for 2008 was $2,371, up 4 percent from $2,280 at the same time in 2007.

IRS.gov

The IRS Internet site, IRS.gov, continues to be a convenient source of federal tax information that consumers can trust, and the site’s popularity continues to increase. As of Oct. 18, IRS.gov had been visited 326,522,488 times.

Tax Returns e-Filed by Businesses

Businesses also broke e-file records during 2008 by filing almost 2 million corporate and partnership income tax returns, an increase of more than 50 percent over the prior year. Partnership e-filings saw the steepest increase. Large partnerships, those with more than 100 partners, e-filed more than 27,000 returns during 2008, up 156 percent compared to the prior year’s total.

Corporations and partnerships e-filed 1,944,421 tax returns during 2008, up 50 percent from last year’s total of 1,294,475.  The total number for e-filed returns that were not filed by individuals was 3,365,757, up 65 percent from last year’s total of 2,172,753. This number includes forms e-filed by exempt organizations.

Filing Season Statistics

2008 FILING SEASON STATISTICS

Cumulative through the weeks ending 11/02/07 and 10/31/08

Individual Income Tax Returns

2007

2008

% Change

Total Receipts

139,272,000

155,490,000

11.6

Total Processed

138,647,000

154,241,000

11.3

E-filing Receipts:

TOTAL

79,979,000

89,886,000

12.4

Tax Professionals

57,420,000

62,959,000

9.6

Self-prepared

22,559,000

26,927,000

19.4

Free File

3,853,813

4,774,894

23.9

Web Usage:

Visits to IRS.gov

198,049,375

329,367,883

19.7

Total Refunds:

Number

105,147,000

106,780,000

1.6

Amount ($Bil)

242.805

256.264

5.5

Average refund

$2,309

$2,400

3.9

Direct Deposit Refunds:

Number

61,444,000

66,338,000

8.0

Amount ($Bil)

165.759

180.498

8.9

Average refund

$2,698

$2,721

0.9