Filing an amended tax return with Form 1040-X
While many people think taxes are a “set it and forget it” task — that’s not always the case. If you find errors or left out information on your original return, you can file a corrected version of your federal return.
In most cases, if you originally filed IRS Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR, you should use Form 1040-X to file your amendment.
So, “What is an amended return? An amended return captures all the original information when you first filed, but also includes anything that you needed to change. To get those new details to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you’ll use Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, and follow the instructions.
Follow along as we outline more details about filing amended tax returns.
When to file an amended tax return?
We get it. Re-doing your taxes probably sounds like a chore. But there are a few instances where you should file an amended tax return:
- You made a mistake on your original tax return: such as an incorrect deduction, claiming the wrong filing status, or omitting certain income (maybe you received a form after you filed).
- You forgot to claim a dependent.
- You improperly claimed a dependent.
- You claimed an expense, deduction, or credit you weren’t eligible for. (For example, you tried claiming the Earned Income Credit, but you don’t qualify).
- You didn’t claim important tax credits or deductions and want to take advantage of the tax benefits.
- You took the standard deduction, but actually would get more benefit if you itemized your deductions.
Don’t worry about filing an amended tax return if you discover minor math errors. Thankfully, the IRS will correct minor mistakes and may send you a bill for the additional tax owed, or a refund if you overpaid.
- Before filing an amended return, ensure the IRS has already processed your return.
- Review your entire original return, as you might spot additional tax savings, such as missed credits or deductions.
How long do you have to file an amended return?
The IRS limits the time you can amend a return – so it’s important to understand your timeframes. To obtain a refund, you usually must file an amended return:
- Within three years from the date you filed your original return
- Within two years from the date you paid the tax
If you received an extension, the filing date is:
- The actual date you filed your return within the extension period
- The tax deadline if you filed your return after the extension period expired
You have more time to file if you’re filing an amended tax return due to a bad debt or a worthless security. If that’s the case, you have seven years after your original return’s due date to file the amended return.
Believe it or not, filing an amended return could result in benefits, like:
- Claiming a tax credit
- Taking a deduction you missed
- Reporting additional income and withholding
If you’re due a refund, the IRS will send it to you after it accepts your amended return. If you owe tax, send the amount to the IRS along with the 1040-X tax form. If you owe interest or a penalty, the IRS will bill you.
How to file an amended tax return
Filing an amended return is considered a complex task for some. For this reason, many people choose to work with a tax pro or online. Here’s how to start the process with the H&R Block Online product.
If you just want to know how it works or don’t need help from a tax professional just yet, check out the steps below to understand how to file an amended tax return.
1. Download Form 1040-X from the IRS website.
2. Gather the necessary documents. You’ll need the information from your original tax return for the given tax year, any new documentation or forms, and the reason for the amendment.
3. Complete Form 1040-X: Add your personal information, details of what’s changed, and your explanation for the changes.
The details of your changes are covered in three columns: Column A (shows original return information), Column B (shows difference in amounts from your original return and your amended return), and Column C (shows the corrected amount; adding Column A and B helps you arrive at these numbers).
4. Submit your completed amended return: You can send it by mail or e-file. Be sure to include:
● A copy of proof of the federal refund
● Any previously unsubmitted W-2 or 1099 forms
- Any corrected W-2s, 1099s, etc.
● Any other substantiating forms, schedules, or documentation supporting the amended return
If your amended return requires an additional tax payment, mail the check along with the amended return, or if filing online, you can make a payment via the IRS website.
5. Wait for the return to process.
How do I track my amended tax return?
There are a few different options to track the status of an amended tax return:
- Go to https://www.irs.gov/filing/wheres-my-amended-return
- Click “Amended Return Status”
- Call 866-464-2050
When tracking your amended return, you’ll need your Social Security number or other Taxpayer Identification Number, your date of birth, and your ZIP code. If you’re working with an H&R Block tax pro, they can help you track the status of your amended return.
It can take up to 20 weeks (instead of up to 16 weeks) for the IRS to process an amended return. An amended return usually takes longer to process than an original return, especially if filed via mail. If you expect a refund from your amended return, the refund can take up to three months to arrive.
The IRS accepts most amended returns, so that wouldn’t cause a delay. In rare instances, the IRS disagrees with changes to amended returns. In this case, the IRS usually sends a denial letter or a more formal one called a notice of claim disallowance. If you receive this IRS notice , you have options and H&R Block has trusted IRS experts that can help.
Need to file a tax amendment? We can help
Making a tax amendment is important to do – especially if money is on the line. Whether you choose to file an amended return with a tax pro at a local office or file with H&R Block Online, you can rest assured that we’ll get you the biggest refund possible.
Not sure if you need to amend? Our Second Look® tax review is free and can help spot errors from a prior year’s return.
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