If you discover an error or mistake after you file your federal income tax return, Form 1040, it can be corrected by filing an amended income tax return. Here are some of the basic rules and concepts to keep in mind that the IRS wants you to keep in mind if faced with this problem:
You should file an amended return if any of the following apply to your tax situation:
In some cases, you do not need to amend your 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 your return.
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 for tax years before 2019.
The Internal Revenue Service announced May 28, 2020 that taxpayers will for the first time be able to file their Form 1040-X, Amended U.S Individual Income Tax Return, electronically using available tax software products.
Before this IRS announcement, taxpayers had to mail a completed Form 1040-X to the IRS for processing. The new electronic option allows the IRS to receive amended returns faster while minimizing errors normally associated with manually completing the form.
The new electronic filing option will provide the IRS with more complete and accurate data in an easily readable format to enable customer service representatives to answer taxpayers’ questions. Taxpayers can still use the “Where’s My Amended Return?” online tool to check the status of their electronically-filed 1040-X.
When the electronic filing option becomes available, only tax year 2019 (and future tax years) Forms 1040 and 1040-SR returns can be amended electronically. In general, taxpayers will still have the option to submit a paper version of the Form 1040-X and should follow the instructions for preparing and submitting the paper form.
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.
The Form 1040X has three columns. Column A shows original figures from the original return. 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. Be sure to be clear and detailed as to these details on the back page so as to maximize your chances of successfully filing this amended return.
Be sure to attach to the Form 1040X other forms or schedules, if the changes involve other schedules or forms.7
If you are filing to claim an additional refund, wait until you have received your original refund before filing Form 1040X. Once you receive that check, you may cash it while waiting for any additional refund that may come from the filing of Form 1040X.
If you going to owe additional tax, you should file Form 1040X and pay the tax as soon as possible to limit interest and penalty charges.
Generally, to claim a refund, you must file Form 1040X within three years from the date you filed your original return or within two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.
Usually the processing time for amended returns is 8 to 12 weeks. However, due to COVID-19, you should processing time may be far more than the normal 8 to 12 weeks.
These amended returns can be quite tricky, so do not hesitate to contact our office if you need assistance.
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