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For US federal tax this year, I mistakenly paid more to IRS than the amount I owe. I don't have a way to change the payment.

Is it possible to ask for a refund or credit next year?

Edit: I am owing say 2000$ this year. But I did some miscalculations and sent them 3000$ via bank. There is no way to revert this 3000$ payment now. But the tax file that I have sent is corrected. And it will show I owe 2000$. So, how I will get the extra 1000$?

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    Does this answer your question? Life span of overpaid tax applied to next year?
    – yoozer8
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 16:02
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    Its bit different I think. I am owing say 2000$ this year. But I did some miscalculations and have sent them 3000$ via bank. There is no way to revert this 3000$ payment now. But the tax file that I have sent is corrected. And it will show I owe 2000$. So, how I will get the extra 1000$?
    – Sayan
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 16:09
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    Did your 1040 Line 37 say $2,000 but you paid $3,000? Or did you make a $3,000 payment before filing your return? Long story short is "yes", you'll be able to request a refund or have it credited to your 2023 taxes. But how you'll go about it will depend on exactly what you did and when you did it.
    – Stan H
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 16:14
  • @StanH I computed Line 37 mistakenly as $3000. Paid $3000 via direct payment yesterday. Corrected line 37 to $2000 today. I will send form 1040 to IRS today.
    – Sayan
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 16:18

2 Answers 2

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As long as you submitted the payment correctly (marking it for the year 2022) it will be correctly applied to your account and you will have a positive balance.

If you haven't submitted your return yet, the payment should go to line 26 and the math will change to reflect the $1000 refund.

If you already submitted it, you now need to file a form 1040X showing amount taxes paid to correctly reflect the $3000 you paid, and you will have $1000 listed as refund due. You can then select what to do with it - receive it as a refund or apply to the next year.

You only need to file the form 1040X itself, since the amount you're adding goes on line 16 of that form and no number on the original return changed.


Summarizing the discussion in the comments:

You actually marked the $3000 payment as an estimated payment and marked it for the year 2023. That means that as applied, it should go to the line 26 of the return you'll be filing next April, and not the one you're filing now. You still owe the $2000 for the year 2022.

You may try calling the IRS at 800-829-1040 and asking them to reapply the $3000 from 2023 to 2022.

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    @Sayan even better. If you haven't submitted the return then it's easy to fix. See my updated answer.
    – littleadv
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 16:27
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    Note that even if you don't file a correction, there is some chance that basic IRS cross-checking will spot the error and trigger an audit-driven refund. Not something to count on, but I have had the IRS tell me I've made mistakes in both directions. Not all auditing is bad; most of it is painless and some is helpful!
    – keshlam
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 16:33
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    @Sayan yes, it would. You paid estimated taxes for the current year, good for you, don't forget to list it on line 26 next year. But you haven't paid taxes for the year 2022.
    – littleadv
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 16:36
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    @Sayan no, for estimated payments you can't pay for past year since you're no longer estimating. You should have selected either "Extension" or "Balance Due" form 1040 payment.
    – littleadv
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 16:53
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    @Sayan yes. Another thing you can try doing is calling the IRS phone line and asking them to change the year for your payment and apply it to your balance due for 2022. YMMV though.
    – littleadv
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 17:01
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Welcome to the world of "accrual". Most people think "well if I send someone money, that's that. It's their money now". The IRS (and large corporations) think "If you send money it's still your money until some form or invoice happens to make it theirs".

So if you sent $1000 to the gas company that's your $1000 credit balance, and you can ask for it back. After a month and you have a $100 gas bill, they deduct the $100 and now you have $900 on credit and you can ask for it back. Etc.

So when you send money to the IRS, that goes into YOUR account at the IRS for that tax year. It's still your money up until you do a separate thing called "filing your taxes". Or alternately you can do nothing for 3 years and the money just becomes theirs.

So if you have not "filed your taxes", do so. The end of the form will show you owing a refund, and the IRS will send your refund.

If you already filed your taxes, this should have happened automagically. However if it didn't because you filed your taxes incorrectly, you can re-do your taxes and then file an amended 1040X, and IRS will issue a refund once they process that. However being a specialty thing, this is a lot slower and can take up to 6 months.

Some people simply let the IRS take their withholding, and knowing they're owed a small refund don't bother to file their taxes at all (and let the IRS keep it). Nothing wrong with that if that's your cup of tea... but if you now change your mind, guess what? There is no penalty for filing taxes late if the IRS owes you money. Not only that, once you have your "tax filing chops" down, you can go back 3 years and collect refund on 2020 or 2021 taxes (to get 2019 you'd have to file with a postmark of today April 17 2023).

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  • Just to clarify that last point -- do you mean there is no penalty if you file for an extension with an estimated payment, and the IRS ends up owing you a refund. Or do you mean literally I can just choose not to file and not file an extension by the deadline, and as long as a refund is due to me there is no penalty for filing late?
    – Chuu
    Commented Apr 18, 2023 at 14:19
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    @chuu the latter. If you fail to file by the deadline or extension line, you must pay a late filing penalty related to the amount you owe. If the IRS owes you money, that penalty is $0. Commented Apr 18, 2023 at 20:47
  • Tax years 2019 and 2020 are special cases -- the filing deadlines in 2020 and 2021 were delayed due to COVID to July 15 and May 17 respectively, and after lots of harping by the NTA IRS recently allowed refund claims on those years based on the delayed date, see taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/news/… Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 2:14

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