What Happens If You File Your Taxes Twice?

The IRS has several measures to prevent identity theft and maintain the integrity of the tax filing process. What happens if you file your taxes twice? Let’s find out.
What happens if you file your taxes twice
What Happens If You File Your Taxes Twice?
Tax filing is a necessary but cumbersome process, and sometimes, mistakes can happen no matter how careful you are. This blog attempts to answer the question: what happens if you file your taxes twice?
In this article

Filing taxes is a vital annual responsibility for every taxpayer. However, errors can occur, and one common mistake is unintentionally filing taxes twice. While it might seem harmless or like an innocent error, the consequences of such an action can be significant.

So, what happens if you file your taxes twice? This article delves into the repercussions of filing taxes twice, outlining the various scenarios that can unfold and offering guidance on rectifying the situation. Check out Beem Tax Calculator to get a quick and accurate estimate of your federal and state tax refund.

What Happens If You File Your Taxes Twice?

If you accidentally file your taxes twice, the IRS will likely reject the second filing. They have systems in place to identify duplicate returns, and the second one will be ignored or marked as “Duplicate”. No worries, your first-filed return will still be processed.

If you intentionally filed twice (e.g., hoping to change something), it’s more serious. This raises red flags for the IRS and might trigger an audit. Be honest and explain the situation to them to avoid potential penalties.

Remember, filing taxes only once is crucial for smooth processing and avoiding confusion.

ScenarioOutcomePotential consequences
Accidental Duplicate FilingSecond filing rejectedNo further action needed.
Intentional Duplicate FilingBoth filings flagged by IRSAudit or penalties possible.

Filing taxes twice inadvertently can lead to delayed refunds and IRS scrutiny. It may trigger duplicate refund issuance and potential penalties due to errors or perceived fraudulent activity.

Duplicate Refund Issuance

When someone unintentionally files two tax returns, they won’t face immediate fines. However, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a protocol to handle such instances. Usually, the first tax return received by the IRS will be accepted. In contrast, the second one will be flagged as a duplicate and subsequently rejected. This process can delay processing your tax return or refund as the IRS initiates an investigation into the duplicate filings.

Your Social Security Number (SSN) serves as a crucial identifier for the IRS to verify your identity and the legitimacy of your tax return. If the IRS detects the same SSN being used twice within the same filing year, it triggers a series of preventive measures against identity theft and potential tax fraud.

Those attempting to file taxes twice will encounter an error code from the IRS, signaling the rejection of the duplicate return. This rejection is a consequence of the IRS’ measures to maintain the integrity of the tax filing process and prevent identity theft.

Overpayment Issues

Overpayment of taxes occurs when one pays more than owed. As detailed in Publication 15 (Circular E), IRS guidelines advise employers not to offset repayments for employee wages received in error against current-year wages unless the repayment relates to that year. Such overpayments are considered income upon receipt and should be reported in the employee’s income. If the employee is reimbursed within the same year, employers exclude that amount from the W-2, ensuring accurate income reporting.

Delays in Refund Processing

Submitting two tax returns results in the IRS accepting the initial one and rejecting the second, often accompanied by an error code explaining its rejection. Despite inadvertent filings not incurring fines, this process triggers IRS scrutiny, leading to investigations into duplicate returns.

This scrutiny causes delays in refund processing as the IRS investigates and rectifies the duplication, prolonging processing times for both original and amended returns. Consequently, taxpayers may need more time to receive their owed refunds.

Increased IRS Scrutiny

The IRS employs rigorous protocols, including Social Security number verification, to thwart tax fraud and identity theft. If a Social Security number is filed twice yearly, the IRS takes preventive measures to combat potential fraud.

Duplicate filings trigger rejection, flagged with error codes like 0515 or IND-515, signifying prior filings under the same number. Victims of identity theft can rectify this by submitting Form 14039 alongside their tax return and providing identity verification documents like a passport or driver’s license.

Potential Audits

Filing taxes twice raises red flags, increasing the likelihood of an IRS audit. Audits are time-consuming and stressful, leading to further financial complications if discrepancies are discovered.

Penalties and Fines

If someone accidentally filed two tax returns, they usually won’t get fined. However, the IRS can impose different penalties if there are errors in the tax filings.

These penalties include fines for being careless or not paying enough taxes. The penalty amount depends on how severe the mistake is and if it happens more than once.

Legal Ramifications

Legal ramifications resulting from erroneous tax filings can encompass accusations of fraudulent activity, leading to severe consequences such as civil or criminal penalties. The severity of penalties hinges on the intent and scale of the alleged fraudulent actions.

Fraudulent Activity Charges

Intentional duplicate filings may lead to accusations of fraudulent activity. If the IRS suspects intentional deceit, it can result in severe legal consequences, including criminal charges.

Civil and Criminal Penalties

Civil penalties involve fines and repayments, while criminal penalties can lead to imprisonment. The severity of the penalties is contingent on the intent and scale of the fraudulent actions.

If you need more clarification about the process, consider consulting a tax professional or seeking assistance like Beem provides online.

How to Rectify the Situation

Rectifying erroneous tax filings involves identifying the error, promptly notifying the IRS, and understanding their procedures for correction through amended tax returns. Seeking professional assistance from tax professionals or legal representation may also aid in navigating the complexities of rectifying such issues effectively.

Identifying the Error

Upon realizing the mistake of filing taxes twice, it’s crucial to identify which return was submitted incorrectly. Review all documents, including W-2s, 1099s, and other tax-related forms, to pinpoint the discrepancies.

Notifying the IRS

Inform the IRS about the error immediately. Contact them via phone or mail, detailing the mistake and providing necessary information to rectify the situation. Transparency and promptness are essential in resolving the issue.

Understanding the IRS Processes

Familiarize yourself with the IRS procedures for rectifying errors. This includes understanding the forms required and the steps involved in amending a tax return.

Amending Your Tax Return

In the event of discovering errors in a filed tax return, rectification depends on the timing and nature of the mistake. Before the filing deadline, corrections are possible through a superseding return, explicitly using a paper 1040 form, as e-filing isn’t permissible. Labeling it as a “superseding return” is essential. However, if errors surface after the deadline or within three years of the submission, the avenue for rectification lies in submitting Form 1040X to amend the tax return details.

Filing an Amended Return

Submit Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to the IRS. This form allows you to correct errors made on your original tax return, providing accurate information to rectify the duplication.

Providing Corrected Information

Ensure the amended return contains accurate and updated information, correcting any errors from the initial filing. Accurate documentation is vital to avoid further discrepancies.

Seeking Professional Assistance

Seeking professional guidance from certified public accountants (CPAs) or tax experts can provide invaluable assistance in rectifying complex tax filing errors. Legal counsel or tax attorneys can offer essential guidance and representation in navigating intricate procedures or potential legal implications arising from erroneous tax filings.

Consultation with Tax Professionals

Consider seeking guidance from tax professionals or certified public accountants (CPAs) specializing in tax matters. Their expertise can provide invaluable assistance in navigating the complex process of correcting tax filing errors.

Legal Advice and Representation

In severe cases involving potential legal ramifications, consult a tax attorney. Legal representation can safeguard your rights and provide essential guidance in handling complex legal procedures.


So, what happens if you file your taxes twice? Filing taxes twice can have far-reaching consequences, ranging from financial penalties to legal implications. It is imperative to rectify such errors promptly and accurately. Understanding the repercussions, promptly notifying the IRS, amending the tax return with accurate information, and seeking professional guidance can mitigate the potential fallout of this mistake. Remember, timely action and transparency are crucial in resolving these issues and preventing further complications with the IRS.

Also, you can always file personal tax returns on Beem. It’s an easy online process.

Was this helpful?

Did you like the post or would you like to give some feedback? Let us know your opinion by clicking one of the buttons below!

Team Beem

Team Beem

Team Beem brings you the latest in the world of personal finance to you. From tips and tricks on how to manage money to how to get cash for emergencies, Beem is your destination for all the information you need to be smart about your money.

This page is purely informational. Beem does not provide financial, legal or accounting advice. This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide financial, legal or accounting advice and should not be relied on for the same. Please consult your own financial, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transactions.

Related Posts

What Happens If a Deceased Person Owes Taxes?
What Happens If a Deceased Person Owes Taxes?
Following a person's death, any outstanding taxes often become the responsibility of their estate. Let's understand what happens if a deceased person owes taxes to the government!
IRS Form 2441
IRS Form 2441 – What It Is, Who Can File, & How to Fill It?
A taxpayer uses Form 2441 to claim tax credit during filing if they have paid an entity or person for taking care of their children or qualifying dependent in a given year. Here's everything you need to must know about IRS form 2441 ahead of the tax-filing season.
23 Uber driver tax deductions and Lyft driver tax deductions
46000 After Tax
46000 After Tax – If i made $46000 how much tax refund
This guide will illuminate the path, providing a simple and insightful overview of what $46,000 after taxes means for you. From practical tips to exploring financial possibilities, let's embark on a journey to maximize the value of your hard-earned income. Let's explore the world of $46,000 after tax!
41000 After Tax
41000 After Tax – If i made $41000 how much tax refund
Have you ever considered how taxes affect your $41,000 annual income? This guide delves deep into the nuances, shedding light on federal and state taxes, net pay calculations, and more, ensuring a clearer understanding of your financial landscape. Let us learn more!
43000 After Tax
43000 After Tax – If i made $43000 how much tax refund
How much of your $43,000 yearly salary will you keep after taxes? Investigate the details of federal and state tax rates, deductions, and deductions. What's left after deductions may tremendously influence your financial decisions, so let's dive in to learn more!



Get up to $1,000 for emergencies

Send Money, Pay Later™

Send money to anyone in the US

BFF - Better Financial Feed

Ger personalized financial insights

Credit Monitoring

Monitor and grow credit score

Cash back

Get up to 20% on everyday spends


Save up to 40% on car insurance

Job-Loss & Disability Protection

Get up to $1,000 for loss of income

Identity Theft Insurance

Insure up to $1 Million

Health Insurance

Coming Soon

File Taxes

File federal and state taxes at low cost

Tax Calculator

Quick estimate of your tax returns

Personal Loan

Get up to $1,000 for emergencies

High Yield Savings

Send money to anyone in the US

Save big on auto insurance - compare quotes now!

Zip Code:
Zip Code: