FAQ #3: How Do I File An Amended Tax Return?

Having to file your taxes twice sounds like a nightmare from the Twilight Zone. Luckily, if you make a mistake or leave something out on your return, the IRS has made it as simple as possible with Form 1040X, the amended tax return. Before you start on your second (and final!) version, read these tips below. Soon, you’ll know how to file an amended tax return like a pro.

Filing an Amended Tax Return

Don’t Complete Another Tax Return – Only Use 1040X

If you’ve missed a deduction, you might think the solution is to fill out an entire new one, and the IRS will replace the old. Not so fast. Once you’ve hit submit on the e-file, or mailed in a hard copy, that is considered your tax return for the year. That’s where 1040X comes in. Think of it as the white out to your original; an attachment that makes everything correct. Along with 1040X, you may have to include updated forms or schedule in your submission, especially if sections like Schedule E (Supplemental Income and Loss) were affected by the mistake. Don’t include any forms or sections that were correct in your original.

You Cannot E-File Your Amended Tax Return

With errors come different terms – you cannot e-file an amended return as you did with your original. You must print and mail 1040X, along with the necessary forms and schedules, and Form 1099 if it applies to the IRS.

You May Have to File Amended Returns for Multiple Years

Filing your original return with accidental emissions of credits or deductions may mean that an amendment will also apply to other years. This is typically the case when you forget to include a credit. Some of them apply to multiple years, so you will have to file multiple 1040X forms.

Don’t Forget Your State Return

State returns and federal returns inevitably have overlap. If your state imposes income tax, you most likely have to amend both returns. If this is the case, contact the state department of revenue or a tax professional to provide amendment instructions.

In the End, You May Not Have to File 1040X

In some cases, the IRS notices errors on your return and fixes them for you. If you receive a letter in the mail from the IRS stating that they amended your return and you agree to them, you do not have to File 1040X.

Additionally, there are other cases where small mistakes are not necessary to correct – namely, when the amount of taxes you owe is not changed by fixing the mistake. If you have any uncertainty, consult a tax professional.

The Amended Tax Return May

We all need do-overs from time to time – the IRS has made it as seamless as possible to fix your return so you and the agency are on correct footing about how much you owe in taxes, or how big your return is.


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