IRS Advice on Filing Amended Tax Returns

Here are 10 facts from the Internal Revenue Service about amending a federal tax return for you or your clients.

Filing Amended Tax Returns Filing Amended Tax Returns

If you or your clients discover an error after filing a tax return, you can correct it by amending the return. The IRS has some tips on how to go about filing an amended return.

1. When to Amend a Return 1. When to Amend a Return

You should file an amended return if your filing status, your dependents, your total income, or your deductions or credits were reported incorrectly.

2. When Not to Amend a Return 2. When Not to Amend a Return

In some cases, you do not need to amend a tax return. The IRS usually corrects math errors or requests missing forms - such as W-2s or schedules – when processing an original return. In these instances, do not amend the tax return.

3. Form to Use 3. Form to Use

Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to amend a previously filed Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. Make sure you check the box for the year of the return you are amending on the Form 1040X. Amended tax returns cannot be filed electronically.

4. Multiple Amended Returns 4. Multiple Amended Returns

If you are amending more than one year’s tax return, prepare a 1040X for each return and mail them in separate envelopes to the appropriate IRS processing center.

5. Form 1040X 5. Form 1040X

The Form 1040X has three columns. Column A shows original figures from the original return (if however, the return was previously amended or adjusted by IRS, use the adjusted figures). Column C shows the corrected figures. The difference between Column A and C is shown in Column B. There is an area on the back of the form to explain the specific changes and the reason for the change.

6. Other Forms or Schedules 6. Other Forms or Schedules

If the changes involve other schedules or forms, attach them to the Form 1040X.

7. Additional Refund 7. Additional Refund

If you or your clients are filing to claim an additional refund, wait until the original refund has been received before filing Form 1040X. Your clients may cash that check while waiting for any additional refund.

8. Additional Tax 8. Additional Tax

If your clients owe additional tax, they should file Form 1040X and pay the tax as soon as possible to limit interest and penalty charges.

9. When to File 9. When to File

Generally, to claim a refund, you must file Form 1040X within three years from the date when the original return was filed or within two years from the date the tax was paid, whichever is later.

10. Processing Time 10. Processing Time

Normal processing time for amended returns is 8 to 12 weeks.

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