Can You File Your Taxes Twice? (And What Happens)

If you’ve ever been responsible for filing your own taxes, you’ll know how stressful it can be. 

A single mistake on your tax returns can cause a lot of confusion and have potential financial consequences, which means there’s a lot of pressure on completing the process correctly. 

Unfortunately, this pressure in itself can make the best of us more prone to errors – including filing taxes twice. 

If you’ve realized that you’ve filed your taxes twice for whatever reason, you might be panicking about the repercussions. 

Can You File Your Taxes Twice (And What Happens)

Don’t worry, though – we’re going to be covering all the relevant information regarding double-filing your taxes in today’s article. 

From what happens when you file your taxes twice to what you can do to rectify the situation, this guide contains everything you need to know moving forward. 

Can You File Your Taxes Twice? 

First of all, let’s get this out of the way: can you file your taxes twice? 

While it’s technically possible to submit two copies of your tax return form, both physically and through the IRS’s online submission portal, it is not possible to have two tax returns accepted for the same year. 

Essentially, even if you submit multiple tax return forms, only one can be accepted, so you can’t actually file your taxes twice. 

Why Might You File Your Taxes Twice? 

There are a couple of different reasons why somebody might file their taxes twice. 

Often, double-filing taxes is simply an accident caused by forgetfulness or confusion. With all the stresses of everyday life, it’s not unheard of for someone to submit their tax form for a second time, forgetting that they’ve already done so. 

Another common reason for filing taxes twice is trying to rectify an error on the first tax form. For example, if you’ve realized that you’ve made a mistake on your tax return, it might seem intuitive to submit a second form with the correct information. 

However, submitting your tax returns twice is not the recommended course of action in the case of an error, and doing so can actually cause more problems, as we’ll explain shortly. 

Regardless of the reason behind a double tax return submission, filing two tax return forms under the same social security number will ultimately complicate matters. 

What Happens if You File Your Taxes Twice? 

The biggest worry for most people who realize they have filed their taxes twice is whether or not they will be fined. 

If you’re in this position at the moment, you’ll be relieved to know that you won’t be fined for filing your taxes twice in the same year. Tax fines or penalties are typically reserved for individuals who file their taxes late or underpay their taxes. 

As long as you’ve filed your taxes on time and haven’t under-represented your income, you shouldn’t have incurred any fines – even if you’ve filed your taxes twice. 

What is most likely to happen is that the IRS will accept the first form you submitted. This is why filing a second tax return form to correct information on the first one is not a useful strategy. 

Once the first form has been filed, any subsequent submissions will be flagged up by the automated system since they will be linked to the same social security number.

The flagged form will then be investigated by the IRS to determine whether the double submission was a mistake, an indication of identity theft, or an attempt at tax fraud. 

What To Do If You File Your Taxes Twice 

So, you’ve filed your taxes twice and you’re not sure what to do. Before you rush to fix your mistake, take a deep breath. 

Depending on the reason you filed your taxes twice and the differences (if any) between the forms you submitted, you might not need to do anything just yet. 

If you’ve inadvertently filed your taxes twice but have included the same information on both forms, you probably won’t need to take any further steps. 

Upon receiving your second tax return, the IRS will investigate the double submission and will most likely deduce that the submission was made in error. In this case, the IRS will simply reject the second form and you’ll probably receive an error message to let you know. 

If, on the other hand, you filed a second tax return to correct a mistake on the original form, you will need to complete an amended tax return form. This is form 1040-X, and it needs to be completed and submitted as a physical copy since it can’t be submitted electronically. 

Usually, you won’t need to do anything else at this stage. If you originally filed your taxes (twice) by mail, it could take several weeks for the IRS to process the two forms and inform you about the rejection. 

By this time, your 1040-X form should have arrived, and once this has been processed, you should eventually receive confirmation that the information provided in the first form has been updated. 

If you haven’t heard back about your amended tax return after 3 weeks, the best course of action is to contact the IRS directly via the toll-free customer service phone number. Alternatively, even though you can’t submit 1040-X forms online, you can check the form’s status on your online account. 

Fraudulent Double Tax Returns 

If you’ve received a notification concerning a double tax form submission, but you know that you didn’t file your taxes twice, you should immediately contact both the IRS and the Federal Trade Commission. 

While it’s possible that the notification could be the result of a technological or processing error, it’s also possible that somebody is using your social security number fraudulently. 

This is a serious situation and needs to be investigated as soon as possible since the process of investigation can take up to 6 months. 

Final Thoughts 

You can’t file your taxes twice because the IRS does not allow two tax form submissions under the same social security number in the same year. 

However, if you’ve submitted your tax form twice, there’s no need to panic. The second form will be rejected and if anything on the first form needs correcting, you simply need to file a 1040-X form to amend the information.

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