It’s easy to make mistakes when you’re doing your own tax preparation. The IRS has a special procedure for fixing them.
That sense of accomplishment you feel after you’ve filed your income taxes can turn quickly to dread if you realize later that you made a mistake. What do you do now?
The IRS knows that this will happen to some taxpayers every year. The tax code is so complex, and if you prepare your taxes manually, you’ve probably been shuffling a lot of papers around.
So, first: Don’t panic. You can fix this. The IRS offers what’s called an amended return, the Form 1040X, for just this type of situation.
If you’ve made a mistake on your income tax return, you’ll be able to file a Form 1040X.
What IRS forms does the 1040X cover?
If your original tax return was filed using a Form 1040, 1040A 1040EZ, 1040NR, or 1040NR-EZ, you should file a Form 1040X to amend that return.
What if I realize I made a math error?
The IRS will make the necessary corrections, so you usually don’t need to file an amended return. However, you should submit one if there was an error related to your filing status, income, deductions, or credits.
I forgot to file my Schedule B. Should I file an amended return?
Usually, no. The IRS will request missing forms and schedules from you.
Can I file a Form 1040X electronically?
No. You must submit a paper return.
How much time do I have to file a Form 1040X?
You can usually file an amended return up to three years after the date of your original income tax return or within two years of actually paying the taxes – whichever date is later. Look at the above image of Form 1040X. You must indicate the year of the return you’re amending by checking a box or entering a year after This return is for the calendar year…
What if my amended return entitles me to an additional refund?
Don’t file a Form 1040X until you’ve received the first refund. Once that’s in hand, you can file the amended return and cash the check. Keep in mind that it can take up to 16 weeks for the IRS to process an amended return. It may not even appear in the system for three weeks after you’ve mailed it.
The IRS Form 1040X uses a three-column approach to help you illustrate where errors have occurred.
I realized that I owed more income tax than I sent, but it’s only March. Can I file a 1040X and include the additional funds?
Yes, as long as it’s received by the April due date for that specific year. You’ll avoid taxes and penalties.
Can I check on the progress of my amended return?
Yes. Go to this IRS page. You’ll need to supply your birthdate, Social Security number, and Zip code. You’ll be able to view the status of your return: received, adjusted (refund, balance due, or no changes), or completed.
Accuracy and Thoroughness Critical
The Form 1040X is not the most complicated of the standard IRS forms, but neither is it the simplest. It’s critical that you complete it absolutely correctly, so you don’t start having to amend your amended returns.
The completion of your Form 1040X can be delayed for a variety of reasons, including the presence of errors. It may take more than 16 weeks to process because it’s:
- A victim of fraud or identity theft.
- In need of additional information.
Avoiding Amended Returns
We can help you determine whether you need to file an amended return at all, and if so, how you should fill out the form.
If you don’t want to risk going through this whole thing again, talk to us about getting you started with year-round tax planning. It makes the whole tax preparation process (which we can handle for you, too) much easier and less stressful. We’ve worked hard with other individuals and small business to minimize their tax obligations, and we can do the same for you.