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Long story short: I got a corrected 1099-DIV after filing my taxes. After going through the calculation, it appears that correcting the return would net me an extra $13 refund, i.e. I overpaid my Federal taxes by $13.

Apparently you can't efile an amended return, and frankly the hassle of printing new forms and mailing them isn't worth the $13 to me.

Is there any reason I shouldn't consider the extra $13 a gift to the government, ignore the corrected 1099-DIV, and not file an amended return?

  • What about including this as a credit for your returns next year? That way you don't have to spend on the amendment but also will benefit by reducing the net taxes owed next year (by $13). – perennial_noob Apr 18 at 4:03
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    @perennial_noob, is there a way to apply it as a credit for this year without filing an amended return? I’m not aware of one. – prl Apr 18 at 4:12
  • I ran into the same situation myself a couple of years ago, but even more trivial: I overpaid by like $2. I filed the amendment because I thought that if the IRS compares my tax return to information supplied by the investment company and finds a discrepancy, even if it's in the government's favor, that might trigger an audit. As I understand it, the rules for what triggers an audit are secret (or people would find ways to cheat on their taxes without setting off one of these triggers), so I figured it was better to just do the paperwork and not have to worry about it. – Jay Apr 18 at 19:18
  • similar situation as money.stackexchange.com/questions/107541 – Neil Apr 29 at 19:53
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People make honest mistakes in filing their returns. And the IRS makes honest mistakes in entering data which makes it look like you owe more (or less) than you do.

I have received several notices from the IRS over the decades noting discrepancies between what I reported and what they received. They just politely asked for more money. Usually they were right, but in one notable case, they entered several items of data incorrectly and presented me with a notice saying I owed them several thousands of dollars more. (This was shortly after a government shutdown, when they had large backlogs and were overworked.) I examined their letter and my return and wrote them back refuting every point they made (politely, of course). They wrote me back, not exactly saying that I was right, but saying that, upon reviewing the correspondence, I owed them $0.00.

The IRS is not going to audit you for a discrepancy of $13.00, even if the discrepancy was in your favor, not theirs. If the discrepancy was in your favor, the IRS will send you a notice saying that you owe more money. In your case, I don't know if they will just send you a check for $13.00, but they might.

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This is an interesting question because the IRS rarely tells you that you don’t have to do something. Typically they just list things you’re required to do. For this situation those are filing a return and paying taxes on time, which you appear to have done. I can’t find anywhere a requirement to amend a return where you are owed money. That seems to mean you don’t have to, but I can’t find a way to confirm that in any way you can rely on.

I can say I wouldn’t bother for that amount. In one case that I didn’t catch, the IRS did send me the money I was owed without me doing anything.

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