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What happens after I file?

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Most taxpayers have already filed their federal tax returns but may still have questions. Here’s what you need to know about refund status, recordkeeping, mistakes and what to do if you move.

Refund information

You can go online to check the status of your 2008 refund 72 hours after IRS acknowledges receipt of your e-filed return, or three to four weeks after you mail a paper return. Be sure to have a copy of your 2008 tax return available because you will need to know the filing status, the first SSN shown on the return, and the exact whole-dollar amount of the refund. You have three options for checking on your refund:

n Go to IRS.gov, and click on “Where’s My Refund.”

n Call 1-800-829-4477 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for automated refund information.

n Call 1-800-829-1954 during the hours shown in your form instructions.

What records should I keep?

Good record keeping allows you to prepare a complete and accurate income tax return. You should keep all receipts, canceled checks or other proof of payment, and any other records to support any deductions or credits you claim.

Normally, tax records should be kept for three years, but some documents — such as records relating to a home purchase or sale, stock transactions, IRAs and business or rental property — should be kept longer.

You should keep copies of tax returns you have filed and the tax forms package as part of your records. They may be helpful in amending filed returns or preparing future ones.

Change of address

If you move after you filed your return, you should send Form 8822, Change of Address to the Internal Revenue Service. If you are expecting a refund through the mail, you should also notify the post office serving your former address, which will ensure your check makes it to your new address.

What if I made a mistake?

Errors may delay your refund or result in notices being sent to you. If you discover an error on your return, you can correct your return by filing an amended return using Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Here are five reasons to file an amended return:

n You did not report some income.

n You claimed deductions or credits you should not have claimed.

n You did not claim deductions or credits you could have claimed.

You should have claimed a different filing status. Taxpayers who filed a joint return cannot choose to file separate returns for that year after the due date of the return. However, an executor may be able to make this change for a deceased spouse.

If you bought or are thinking of buying a home, you may be able to file an amended return to claim the First Time Home Buyer Credit. Taxpayers who purchased a qualifying home can claim the Homebuyer Credit on the 2008 return without waiting until next year to claim it on their 2009 return.

For more information, visit www.IRS.gov.

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