Some Taxpayers Remain Eligible to File Amended 2009 Income Tax Returns
(But the Deadline Fast Approaches!)
By Jean McDevitt, Tax Principal
Typically there is a three year statute of limitations during which taxpayers may file amended tax returns. For returns filed by April 15th of the due date year, taxpayers have three years from that April 15th to file amended returns. For a return that was extended until October 15th, the taxpayer has three years from the date that the return was filed to amend. For example, a 2009 income tax return that was extended and ultimately filed on October 10, 2010, must be amended by October 10, 2013. Because October 15, 2010 was the absolute last day that a 2009 return could have been filed timely, October 15, 2013 generally will be the last date that an amended return for 2009 may be filed.
These rules have been around a while, but only recently may have become of interest to same-sex taxpayers affected by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in U.S. v. Windsor and Revenue Ruling 2013-17 (see our July 2013 and August 2013 articles). Specifically, on October 15, the window will close on the latest opportunity to amend 2009 returns to obtain refunds related to those decisions. Circumstances that may warrant an amendment include the following: changing the tax filing status from single to married filing jointly or separately, revising dependency exemptions, and reducing taxable wage income to exclude health coverage provided for an employee’s same-sex spouse.
Premiums paid for coverage under employer provided group health plans are excluded from gross income for the employee, spouse, and dependents. Prior to the Windsor ruling, however, premiums paid for coverage for a same-sex spouse were not excluded from gross income. As a result of the Windsor ruling, premiums paid for same- sex spouses will receive the same pre-tax treatment as opposite-sex spouses. Thus, for employees that purchased coverage for a same-sex spouse under an employer plan, that employee may file an amended tax return to claim a refund of income tax paid on the premiums for the coverage of the employee’s spouse.
Whether an amended return, Form 1040X, is warranted must be determined on a case-by-case basis and a variety of factors must be considered. We encourage you to discuss possible amendments with your advisor to determine if appropriate.
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