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BK-CPA, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 933
Experience:  Owner of a CPA firm
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I have downloaded several things to amend my 2014 return

Customer Question

I have downloaded several things to amend my 2014 return with TurboTax, but now I keep getting that my return is locked and I cannot get anything done. Ive been working on this for 24 hours with no results. I need to correct an error I made in my income ASAP and before I file my 2015 return. I could not find the paper work for 2014 when I started my 2015 return so even though it is under the same name and SS# ***** am wondering now if I have been hacked and that is why I'm not able to correct this. When I signed in as a new customer for 2015, it showed different numbers than what I actually received in refunds from 2014, I need help. Please contact me ASAP! Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  BK-CPA replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for your question.

You can request a copy of your return from the IRS if TurboTax isn't producing. If TurboTax is showing different prior year amounts than what you actually had, then perhaps you started online but were forced to finish using a desktop version of TurboTax's software (this happens a lot because the online version of their software is junk compared to the desktop version, which is still junk, and many times they will have you switch to the desktop version to solve problems). Aside from that, it's possible that TurboTax's software has not properly transferred prior year information.

How much is your time worth? Chances are this is a simple 1040 return to any tax pro that you could have amended for $100 or so. You've spent 24 hours...

The online version of TurboTax cannot be used to amend a 2014 return. You'll have to download their desktop software to do it. You'll also have to download your tax file from their website if you filed online in 2014. Then you'll have to open the software and after you've opened the software, use the software to open your tax file (ie... you can't just open the tax file you've downloaded). From there, you'll need to make sure the numbers match exactly with what you originally filed (both fed and state) before you can start the process of amending your return. Once the numbers match, you indicate that you are amending and proceed to make changes. Form 1040X and whatever state form you need should populate. So, if you have yet to even get your tax file open, then unfortunately after 24 hours the hardest part is yet to come.

Now for some good news: you aren't really accruing much more in the way of interest and penalties. Relax. Being understandably frustrated and feeling rushed to get your taxes done will not help. It's a recipe for making even more mistakes.

TurboTax is good for simple returns, but not for anything complicated which, if you've never amended a return before, probably includes amending your return. Just like buying a set of tools won't turn me into a mechanic, buying TurboTax won't turn you into a tax pro (despite what Intuit might imply in its advertising...). Again, I strongly suggest you just get someone that knows what they are doing to amend it.

If not, you can always call TurboTax. They do have a support team there waiting to help which may or may not cost you extra to make use of. If you're lucky you'll get one of their "tax advice agents" instead of one of their "tax support reps." The advice agents are credentialed (either EAs or CPAs) that can try to painstaking walk you through everything over the phone. If need be, you can set up a screen share so they can view your computer screen... don't try this on a cell phone or tablet (that's nuts!!!). If you're even luckier, that will work, because they aren't computer professionals and won't be of much help if you can't get the file downloaded, can't do a screen-share because of some firewall or other computer settings, etc.

Additionally, I suggest you compare the refunds you received with your original returns to make sure the IRS or state didn't take the liberty of correcting something for you prior to releasing your refund. They'd send a notice if they did, but I've seen plenty of times where this has happened and people don't realize it and for some reason that notice just doesn't ring a bell. Amending your return is much more complex after the government has changed something, fyi.

Alright, good luck! That's about the most I can do for you on a written JustAnswers response. I suggest you get a tax pro to help and save yourself any more grief.

Expert:  BK-CPA replied 1 year ago.

PS - By the way, specifically, why are you trying to amend (ie., forgot a W2, 1099, etc.)? It's possible that you shouldn't do 2015 before amending 2014, but that is seldom the case unless you have carryforwards (passive activity losses or credits, capital loss carryforwards, net operating loss, etc.). If you amend 2014 but already transferred your prior year data to 2015 in TurboTax and you do have carryforwards, you'll likely need to change all those. In that case, you may need to use a desktop version of TurboTax depending on the carryforward that you need to change because that is one of the online system's many limitations: you can't adjust certain carryforwards...

I feel bad for you because I know how ridiculous it can be to try to fix something once it's gone wrong in TurboTax. If it's an easy fix, maybe I'll offer to do it for you for something cheap, like $75. I would have you locate copies of your original returns and supply the necessary info to do that... it would be more if you can't get this stuff and I'm ordering transcripts, etc. Let me know if that's something you might want and I can send what JustAnswers calls an additional services offer where I can give you the name / website of my accounting firm, my contact, etc.