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My question is... how difficult is it to file an amended return? ...does this typically "wake the sleeping giant...."

Here's my experience--a single data point. I had occasion to file an amended return a couple of years ago. Mechanically, the hardest thing about it was figuring out how to get TaxAct to do this (no knock on TaxAct; I'd just never done one before).

I also knew when I filed the original that I'd have to file amended later: one of the companies in which I'd invested wasn't going to send its K-1s until early summer, and I didn't want to wait that long to file (or go through the drill of getting the extension). I didn't worry about this for two reasons: I was going to get a refund, and the K-1 was going to reflect chump change income for me (based on the company's interim postings on its Web site) that would only reduce my refund.

The K-1 came, I filed amended, sent a check for what I owed (that refund reduction), and in short order got a response from the IRS that everything was jake. They did note that I owed roughly two bucks in interest, and they waived that.

As an aside, I've seen lots of complaints (often anticipated complaints, nothing actually had happened) that the IRS are a bunch of a**h...s bent on ripping us off. That's not been my experience. My wife or I have sat through in-person and mail audits, and we've gotten multiple heart-stopper letters (of the "we think you owe, please pay" variety). In every case, the men and women were courteous and professional--which I cannot say, from direct experience, about other groups (IT customer "support," for instance). We've always been straight with them, and they've always been straight with us.

Eric Hines
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