tax: better to file now & amend later, or wait for forms & file then

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here's my situation:
with the exception of dealing with the sale of a property last year, i have completed my family's taxes. if i file right now, we'll get a sizable refund.

but we need a professional's help for that property sale, because it was the sale of an inherited property in a foreign country. because the necessary documents (which will allow us to determine our tax basis) are in the hands of a foreign relative with no sense of urgency, i know that the tax issues for this sale won't be resolved until early april. asking this relative to hurry up is guaranteed to start a fight, and i value family harmony.

my question is, should i wait to file everything together, knowing that i will lose two months' use of several thousand dollars? or should i file now, get the refund, and file an amended return later, paying back whatever the tax differential turns out to be? bear in mind that i strongly suspect the tax liability for the property sale has a good chance of wiping out the refund entirely, but i honestly don't know.

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If you think the complete tax return is going to have close to no net payment or refund, I'd definitely wait. Filing early to get a big refund and then amending to pay about the same amount back seems like a hassle. A couple of months access to a few thousand dollars wouldn't be worth it to me, and I'd worry that it might be another reason to attract an audit.

 I'd wait in filing  knowing that the refund will be wiped out by the gain in the property sale.  If we're talking about several thousand dollars worth of tax liability, I'd consult a CPA before I pay that tax. 

crabbing said:   here's my situation:
with the exception of dealing with the sale of a property last year, i have completed my family's taxes. if i file right now, we'll get a sizable refund.

but we need a professional's help for that property sale, because it was the sale of an inherited property in a foreign country. because the necessary documents (which will allow us to determine our tax basis) are in the hands of a foreign relative with no sense of urgency, i know that the tax issues for this sale won't be resolved until early april. asking this relative to hurry up is guaranteed to start a fight, and i value family harmony.

my question is, should i wait to file everything together, knowing that i will lose two months' use of several thousand dollars? or should i file now, get the refund, and file an amended return later, paying back whatever the tax differential turns out to be? bear in mind that i strongly suspect the tax liability for the property sale has a good chance of wiping out the refund entirely, but i honestly don't know.

  
You aren't losing the use of anything if your tax liability on the sale of the property will eat up what you have already paid. If you need some 0% money for a couple of months just sign up for a new credit card with a 0% offer. It'd be much less of a hassle.

Not to mention if any federal forms on the house sell have already been transfered to the IRS they might not even process your refund unless those are accounted for in it.

So you're asking if you should file a partial return in order to receive a refund you're pretty sure you're not actually entitled to?  I'd say no.

Can you sign and attest to this?

"Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined this return and accompanying schedules and statements, and to the best of my knowledge and belief, they are true, correct, and accurately list all amounts and sources of income I received during the tax year."

crabbing said:   but we need a professional's help for that property sale, because it was the sale of an inherited property in a foreign country. because the necessary documents (which will allow us to determine our tax basis) are in the hands of a foreign relative with no sense of urgency, i know that the tax issues for this sale won't be resolved until early april. asking this relative to hurry up is guaranteed to start a fight, and i value family harmony.
 

  To add to all the responses asking you to wait till you have the necessary documents regarding the foreign property:

Things tend to take longer than you anticipate and you are in no mood to ask foreign relative to hurry. If it takes longer than April, simply file for an extension and wait till you get everything sorted out from the foreign relative. Then engage the services of a professional. In fact, file for an extension regardless. Tax professionals will be in a much better position in say May or June than in early April.

Getting your hands on a few thousand dollars (that too for possibly a short period of a few months) should be the least of your considerations.
 

thanks for all of the comments. i see no benefit, and lots of downsides, to filing now and amending later.

While you are waiting for that matter to be resolved, adjust your withholding so that you aren't getting a "sizable refund" next year.

marginoferror said:   Can you sign and attest to this?

"Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined this return and accompanying schedules and statements, and to the best of my knowledge and belief, they are true, correct, and accurately list all amounts and sources of income I received during the tax year."

  

and a side benefit as well:  The IRS will likely audit your past and future returns when they see what you have done.   

 



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