Amended tax returns… Do you need to file?
If you discover a mistake on your tax return after you’ve already filed it, don’t panic. In most cases, all you have to do is file an amended tax return.
You may be able to fix mistakes by filing an amended tax return even if they aren’t due until a later year. For example, if you made an error in calculating a charitable deduction and you’re not sure when it will be due, consider filing an amended return before the deadline passes.
What Tax Form is Used to File an Amended Return?
Taxpayers should use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to file an amended (corrected) tax return. An amended tax return should only be filed to correct errors or make changes to your original tax return. For example, you should amend your return if you need to correct your income, deductions, or credits. Taxpayers can also amend their return electronically if there is a change to their filing status or to add a dependent previously claimed on another return.
If you have made a math error on your tax return, you will not need to file an amended return. The IRS automatically makes those changes for you.
If you did not file your tax forms like W-2s, schedules, and more, then you may have to mail them in. The IRS normally will send you a request asking for those.
You must file Form 1040X within three years from the date you filed your original return or within two years of the date you paid your taxes, whichever is later. For example, the last day for most people to file a 2019 claim for a refund is April 15, 2023. Special rules may apply to certain claims. Please call for additional information about this.
Amending a Tax Return
If you need to amend your 2019, 2020, and 2021 Forms 1040 or 1040-SR, you can now file the Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return electronically using available tax software products. If you are amending more than one tax return, prepare a separate 1040X for each return and note the tax year of the return you are amending in the correct location at the top of Form 1040X. In general, taxpayers still have the option to submit a paper version of Form 1040-X and should follow the instructions for preparing and submitting the paper form.
Taxpayers are allowed to file up to three “accepted” Amended Returns electronically. After the third accepted Amended Return, all subsequent attempts will be rejected.
The normal processing time of up to 16 weeks (once received by the IRS) also applies to Amended Returns filed electronically. Calling the IRS will not speed up the processing time of an amended return. Taxpayers should note that direct deposits are not allowed at this time for Amended Returns.
Claiming an additional refund.
If you are filing an amended tax return to claim an additional refund, wait until you have received your original tax refund before filing Form 1040X. Amended returns take up to 16 weeks to process. You may cash your original refund check while waiting for the additional refund.
If you owe additional taxes, file Form 1040X and pay the tax as soon as possible to minimize interest and penalties on unpaid taxes. You can use IRS Direct Pay to pay your tax directly from your checking or savings account.
When to File a Paper Return
For tax years other than 2019, 2020, and 2021 1040 and 1040-SR returns or any other tax types, amended Returns must be filed by paper. Also, if amending a prior year return – and the original return for that year was filed on paper during the current processing year – the amended return must be filed by paper. You will find the appropriate IRS address to mail your return to in the Form 1040X instructions.
If you need to mail more than one amended tax return to the IRS, you must use a separate envelope for each return.
Starting in June 2022, more forms can now be amended electronically. These include people filing corrections to the Form 1040-NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return and Forms 1040-SS, U.S. Self-Employment Tax Return (Including the Additional Child Tax Credit for Bona Fide Residents of Puerto Rico), and Forms 1040-PR, Self-Employment Tax Return – Puerto Rico.
Additionally, a new electronic checkbox has been added for Forms 1040/1040-SR, 1040-NR, and 1040-SS/1040-PR to indicate that a superseding return is being filed electronically. A superseded return is one that is filed after the originally filed return but submitted before the due date, including extensions.
Tracking the Status of a Return
You can track the status of your amended tax return for the current year three weeks after you file. You can also check the status of amended returns for up to three prior years. To use the “Where’s My Amended Return” tool on the IRS website, enter your taxpayer identification number (usually your Social Security number), date of birth, and zip code. If you have filed amended returns for more than one year, you can select each year individually to check the status of each.