I Forgot to Add My Daughters to My Tax Return

When you make an error on your tax return, fix it by filing an amended return.

When you make an error on your tax return, fix it by filing an amended return.

With the hassle of deadlines and pressure from the Internal Revenue Service, making a mistake on your income taxes is not uncommon. According to the IRS, thousands of taxpayers make errors on their returns each year, most requiring the taxpayer to file an amended return. If you forgot to claim your daughters on your income tax return, odds are you paid too much income tax. The IRS allows you an exemption for each dependent, which reduces your adjusted gross income and lessens the tax burden. To claim your daughters and receive a refund of your overpayment, you must file an amended tax return.

Obtain tax Form 1040X from the IRS website. You should also grab a copy of the form's instructions, which will help you fill out the form.

Complete the top section of Form 1040X. This includes your name, address, Social Security number and filing status. If you don’t know your filing status, look at your previously filed tax return. Your filing status is listed toward the top of the form.

Skip down to Part 1, which is located on the second page of Form 1040X. This section requires you to calculate your exemptions and list your dependents. The first column, or Column A, is used to list information from your previous income tax return. Column B is used to list any changes, and Column C is used to report the correct amounts.

Refer to the section labeled "Exemptions" on your previously filed income tax return. If you checked only Box 6a, enter "1" in the line labeled "Yourself and Your Spouse" in Column A. If you also checked Box 6b, enter "2" in this line.

Enter "0" in Column B. Copy the number listed in Column A to Column C. Because you are not adjusting your exceptions for you or your spouse, you do not have to make any changes to this number.

Refer to your previous income tax return and check the line labeled "Lived with You" in the Exemptions section. This part is located toward the right side of the first page. Enter this number in the line labeled "Your Dependent Children Who Lived with You" in Column A.

Enter the change in Column B. If you forgot to claim two daughters who lived with you more than half the year, enter "2" in column B. Add Column A and Column B together. Enter the total amount in Column C.

Refer to your previous income tax return and check the line labeled "Did Not Live with You" in the Exemptions section. Enter this number in the line labeled "Your Dependent Children Who Did Not Live with You" in Column A.

Enter the change in Column B. If you forgot to claim three daughters who did NOT live with you due to divorce or separation, enter "3" in column B. Some divorce and separation decrees let parents alternate claiming the children, regardless of whether the child actually lived in the parent's household. Add Column A and Column B together. Enter the total amount in Column C. If you claimed any other dependents on your income tax return, enter this number in the line labeled "Other Dependents" in Column A and C. Enter "0" in Column B.

Add each column together and enter the total in the line labeled "Total Number of Exemptions." Column A and Column B should always equal Column C for each line.

Refer to the Form 1040X instructions to locate the annual exemption amount. For 2012, the exemption amount table is listed on Page 7 of the instructions and is $3,700 per exemption. Multiply this number by the total exemptions listed in each column. Enter the result in the line labeled "Multiply the Number of Exemptions." Complete the top portion of Part I to determine your correct exemption amount.

Transfer the amount listed in the last line of Column C to the line labeled "Exemptions," which is located on the first page of Form 1040X. The correct amount also goes in Column C.

List your daughters in the second portion of Part I. You must provide their names, Social Security numbers, relationship, and indicate whether they qualify for the Child Tax Credit. For more information on the Child Tax Credit, refer to the Form 1040 or 1040A instructions, which contain a test that you can take to determine if your daughter qualifies.

Refer to your previously filed income tax return to complete the form. Enter the original amounts claimed in Column A and a "0" in Column B. Copy the number listed in Column A to Column C. For the line labeled "Exemptions," subtract Column C from Column A. Enter the change in Column B. If your daughters qualified for the Child Tax Credit, you must also adjust the amounts listed in Column B and C of the line labeled "Credit."

Perform all of the required calculations to determine the amount of your refund. Because you are claiming at least two extra exemptions, you will receive a refund for your overpayment.

Write "Forgot to Claim Children" in Part III, which requires you to describe why you are filing the amended return.

Sign and date Form 1040X. If you are married, your spouse must also sign and date the form. Mail the form and any supporting documents to the address listed on the Form 1040X Instructions.

Tip

  • If you qualify for the Child Tax Credit, you might also qualify for the Additional Child Tax Credit. For more information, refer to IRS Form 8812 for more information.
 

About the Author

Angela M. Wheeland specializes in topics related to taxation, technology, gaming and criminal law. She has contributed to several websites and serves as the lead content editor for a construction-related website. Wheeland holds an Associate of Arts in accounting and criminal justice. She has owned and operated her own income tax-preparation business since 2006.

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