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How urgent is filing the amended returns? Is it something that should be done as quickly as possible? Can s/he wait a bit? It will be a fairly big bill just in terms of the additional taxes owed, and I don't know how interest/penalties would work in this scenario. Is there a big difference if s/he does the amended returns now versus waiting and seeing if the IRS reexamines these?

Yes. The difference is between being an honest person and a crook.

The deadline for getting 2005 amended, assuming a timely return was filed, is 4/15/2009. There are no penalties, just interest, so the timing of the amendments won't affect the balance due.

I realize this person is a relative, but if (s)he adopts the "wait and see" approach and is stupid enough to tell you so, be sure to count the silver after a visit to your home. Those who will steal from the government will steal from you.

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