If You Accidentally File You Taxes Twice, These Consequences Will Follow

Someone who attempts to file taxes twice will receive an error code from the IRS, but no fine will be assessed. Here's what happens next.

Kathryn Underwood - Author

Apr. 21 2023, Updated 4:23 p.m. ET

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Every year, plenty of people have questions about how and when to file their taxes. While the usual tax filing deadline falls on April 15, the IRS will sometimes push it up to April 18 to account for weekends and holidays.

While the tax filing deadline is usually pretty straight forward, it's the tax forms and submission process that can be confusing for many people Sometimes, people unintentionally file their tax returns twice.

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Filing two federal tax returns isn't permitted. Once your Social Security Number has been used to file a return, the IRS will automatically flag and reject any additional return filed with that SSN.

Here's a complete breakdown of what happens when you file a duplicate tax return and what you can do to rectify it.

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When are tax returns due to the IRS?

As previously mentioned, the IRS requires that tax filers get their tax returns in by mid-April. There are exceptions, of course. For example, in 2021, the IRS extended the tax filing date to May 17, giving Americans an extra month to complete the tax filing process.

The deadline extension only applied to filing federal taxes, not state income taxes.

Also, those who applied and were approved for an extension generally have until mid-October to get their tax return filed. Whether you plan to file your taxes on time or ask for an extension, it's advisable to give yourself enough time.

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Will I get fined if I file my taxes twice?

Individuals who unintentionally file two tax returns won't get fined. Usually, the first one the IRS receives will get accepted and the second will be rejected. H&R Block says that the consequence is your tax return or refund might get delayed as the IRS investigates your duplicate returns.

The IRS uses your Social Security Number as a means of verifying your identity and the authenticity of your tax return. Zacks.com states that if the same SSN is used twice in the same filing year, the IRS must take several steps to prevent identity theft and potential tax fraud.

Someone who attempts to file taxes twice will receive an error code from the IRS and the duplicate return will be rejected.

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What should I do if I file my taxes twice?

If you filed taxes twice, the IRS will only accept the first one. You will probably receive an error code about the second one that explains why it got rejected. 

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Zacks.com suggests checking the information on your return if you don’t think that you actually filed twice (for example, your first return is rejected and you know you didn’t file previously).

If you think someone else has fraudulently used your Social Security Number, you need to take immediate action by contacting the IRS and checking with the FTC for other steps. Because the IRS tends to get flooded with calls, especially at peak times during the tax season, you may be able to speak with a person by calling the agency's general number which is 800-829-1040.The process of investigating potential tax identity theft can take about 180 days.

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How do I fix a mistake on a tax return?

If you realize that you filed a tax return with one or more errors that need to be fixed, there's a solution. While you won't want to file a second return since this will only generate an error message, you will want to complete an amended tax return using Form 1040-X. If you filed your taxes with an online tax preparer such as TurboTax or H&R Block, simply login into your account and select "amend a return."

Be sure to choose the correct filing year if you used that same tax preparer in the past.

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