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Tips for Filing an Amended Tax Return

Updated: Apr 18

You may have found yourself in a situation where you've completed your tax filing and realized that you missed something. If this sounds like you, then don’t worry. All you need to do is follow these tips on how to file an amended tax return.

1. Start with the right form. Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to correct your tax return. Taxpayers are able to amend Form 1040 and 1040-SR returns electronically.

Taxpayers have the option to submit a paper version of the Form 1040X and should follow the instructions for preparing and submitting the paper form. You can get the form on at any time. See the Form 1040X instructions for the address where you should mail your form.

2. Amend to correct errors. You should file an amended tax return to correct errors or make changes to your original tax return. For example, you should amend to change your filing status or to correct your income, deductions, or credits.

3. Don’t amend for math errors or missing forms. You normally don’t need to file an amended return to correct math errors. The IRS will automatically correct those for you. Also, do not file an amended return if you forgot to attach tax forms, such as a Form W-2 or a schedule. The IRS will mail you a request for them in most cases.

4. Most taxpayers don’t need to amend to correct Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, errors. Eligible taxpayers who filed a tax return and claimed a premium tax credit using incorrect information from either the federally-facilitated or a state-based Health Insurance Marketplace, generally do not have to file an amended return regardless of the nature of the error, even if additional taxes would be owed. The IRS may contact you to ask for a copy of your corrected Form 1095-A to verify the information.

5. Be aware of the time limit to claim a refund. You generally have three years from the date you filed your original tax return to file Form 1040X to claim a refund. You can file it within two years from the date you paid the tax if that date is later. That means the last day for most people to file a 2020 claim for a refund is May 17th, 2024. See the Form 1040X instructions for special rules that apply to some claims.

6. Separate forms for each year. If you are amending more than one tax return, prepare a 1040X for each year. If you are submitting paper versions, you should mail each year in separate envelopes. Note the tax year of the return you are amending at the top of Form 1040X. Check the form’s instructions for where to mail your return.

7. Attach other forms with changes. If you use other IRS forms or schedules to make changes, make sure to attach them to your Form 1040X.

8. Know when to file for an additional refund. If you are due a refund from your original return, wait to get that refund before filing Form 1040X to claim an additional refund. Amended returns take up to 16 weeks to process. You may spend your original refund while you wait for any additional refund.

9. Pay additional tax as soon as you can. If you owe more tax, file your Form 1040X and pay the tax as soon as you can. This will stop added interest and penalties. Use IRS Direct Pay to pay your tax directly from your checking or savings account.

10. Track your amended return. You can track the status of your amended tax return three weeks after you file with ‘Where’s My Amended Return?’ This tool is on or by phone at 866-464-2050. It is available in English and in Spanish.

The tool can track the status of an amended return for the current year and up to three years back. To use ‘Where’s My Amended Return?’ enter your taxpayer identification number, which is usually your Social Security number. You will also enter your date of birth and zip code. If you have filed amended returns for multiple years, you can check each year one at a time.

11. Don't forget about state tax return amendments. Most states utilize the information provided on your federal tax return to determine your state tax filing. If information is being corrected on your federal return, it's likely that you also need to file an amendment for your state tax return.

If any of this feels complicated or overwhelming, make sure you use a qualified tax preparer from ATBS to prepare and file the amended return for you. To get started, call 866-920-2827 or click here to request a call from us.

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