If you made an error on a tax return over the last three years, you can amend it by filing an IRS Form 1040-X.

It happens more often than you might think. Millions of individuals have to make one or more changes on a tax return they’ve already filed every year. The IRS has a special form for just that purpose, the Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. You can use this form to report corrections to your filing status, income, deductions, credits, or tax liability.

Sometimes the IRS makes changes to a return on its own. For example, the agency might discover a mathematical or other clerical error. Or you may have failed to complete a required form or schedule. When this occurs, the IRS will notify you of its modifications, but you’re not required to file a Form 1040-X.

The Form 1040-X

You can file a Form 1040-X by using tax software (only for tax years2019and 2020, and only if the original return was filed electronically) or on paper to amend Forms 1040 and 1040-SR.You can also correct Forms 1040-A, 1040-EZ, 1040-NR, and 1040-NR EZ with a Form 1040-X.

You can complete an IRS Form 1040-X if you’ve made a mistake on a return within the last three years.

Here are the answers to some common questions taxpayers often have about amended returns: 

What if I have to amend returns from more than one year? You’ll need to complete and file a separate Form 1040-X for each year individually. Send them in separate envelopes and be sure to check the box at the top of each form indicating the calendar year affected by the changes. 

Should I mail it to my regional IRS office? Send your envelope to the address provided in the instructions for the Form 1040-X. If you’re responding to a notice the IRS sent to you, send your form to the address indicated on the notice. 

Do I need to include anything with the form? Yes. Send any forms or schedules affected by the change along with your Form 1040-X. 

What if I’m getting a refund? You should wait until the IRS has processed your original return before you file an amended one. This needs to be done within three years of the date your original return was filed. 

What if I owe additional taxes based on the amended return? You should pay any tax due as quickly as you can to minimize interest and penalties. 

What information will I need to provide on the Form 1040-X? There are three columns that appear halfway down the first page of the form. You’ll need to enter figures for any original amount that was incorrect, the corrected amount, and the difference between the two. This information is divided into Income and Deductions, Tax Liability, Payments, and Exemptions and Dependents. There are many other fields you’ll need to complete, and you’ll have space to enter explanations. 

You’ll have to provide three sets of figures on the Form 1040-X. 

Can I find out whether my Form 1040-X was received? Yes. You can start checking three weeks after you mailed it. Use the IRS’ online tool, Where’s My Amended Return? This service is updated daily. If you want to check the status of your return for the current tax year, go to Where’s My Refund? or use the IRS’ mobile app, IRS2Go 

Keep in mind that it can take the IRS up to 16 weeks to process an amended return after it’s been received. Don’t file a second Form 1040-X or call the IRS. 

Why would it take longer than 16 weeks to process an amended return? A Form 1040-X may need to be reviewed further because it, for example: 

  • Hasn’t been signed. 
  • Isn’t completed. 
  • Contains errors.
  • Can’t be processed without more information. 
  • Was affected by fraud or identity theft.  

A Precise Process 

It’s very important that you fill out the Form 1040-X with absolute accuracy. You don’t want to have to amend an amended return. We can help you complete this form and answer any related questions you might have. Contact us, and we’ll schedule some time. 

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Rochelle Dejong
Rochelle Dejong
My professional experience consists of over 30 years working in an accounting environment with numerous accounting software packages. My goal is to assist small business with their bookkeeping and financial needs to keep them up to date with their financial reports so that they may achieve their goals.