How to File an Amended Return

Amended Tax Return IRS Form 1040X

You’ve already filed your federal tax return, but then you realize you mistakenly left out some income you received, or forgot a deduction that would help your bottom line, left out a form, or filled one out wrong.  What can you do about it, after the fact?

Not to worry – the IRS offers a way for you to fix your return, by making the necessary corrections via an amended tax return, filed on Form 1040X, Amended US Individual Income Tax Return.  By filing the amended return, you can claim an additional refund you are owed or pay additional tax you owe, as a result of the change to your tax liability.

I made a math error calculating my refund or balance due – do I need to file an amended return for that?

No – if the error is merely a math miscalculation, the IRS will automatically correct this on your return and notify you of the correction via a mailed notice. Also, if you forgot to attach certain tax forms (such as a W-2 or 1099-R), the IRS will send you a request for the missing documents, and you would not need to file an amended return.

Is There a Time Limitation for Filing an Amended Return, After I Filed the Original Return?

Yes – an amended return must be filed within 3 years of the date that the original return was filed, or within 2 years from the date they paid the original tax liability, whichever is later.

Can I E-file My Amended Return, Or Does It Have to Be Mailed To The IRS?

If the return being amended is for 2019 or a later tax year, you can e-file your amended return.  In 2020 the IRS began accepting e-filed amended returns, for 2019 and subsequent tax years.  Prior to the 2019 tax year, the IRS only accepted paper-filed amended returns.

How Do I Go About Amending My Federal Return?

  • First of all – if you had a refund on your original return, and if you expect to receive an additional refund from filing your return – be sure to wait until you receive the original refund first, before filing the amended return
  • Write the tax year for which the return is being amended on the top of Page 1 of Form 1040-X
  • The amounts of income, deductions, credits and payments from your return as originally filed (or as previously adjusted, if you received a prior IRS notice) are reported in Column A of Form 1040-X. The corrected amounts are reported in Column C, and the amounts in Column B show the net change – increase or decrease – in each item reported.
  • If you had an overpayment on your return as originally filed (or as adjusted by the IRS previously), it gets reported on Line 18 of Form 1040-X, and is subtracted from the total payments made to date, before calculating the refund payable to you or payment due from you with the amended return.
  • Any additional tax due should be paid with the amended return, to avoid the accrual and imposition of additional penalty and interest. Interest is charged on any tax not paid by the due date of the original return.

Do I Need to Explain Why I am Amending the Return?

Yes – in Part III of Form 1040-X, a taxpayer amending his or her return needs to provide an explanation to the IRS for the changes requiring an amended return, specifying which forms and schedules are being changed or added.

Do I Need to Attach Anything to My Amended Return When I File It?

Yes – if the changes include adding a form or schedule that was inadvertently not included in the return as originally filed, that form or schedule needs to be attached to the amended return

I Want to Mail My Amended Return to the IRS – Where Should I Send It?

If you prefer to mail your amended return to IRS instead of e-filing it, the IRS has a list of mailing addresses for IRS service centers, found on Page 9 of the Form 1040-X Instructions, where you can look up the IRS service center address designated for the state or foreign country you are living in.

I Amended My Federal Return, But What About My State Return – Does That Need Amending, Too?

Please note keep in mind that, depending on the types of amendments made to your federal return, you may need to amend a state tax return filed for the same tax year.

Make sure to keep all documentation related to the changes you made to prepare the amended return, because the IRS may request those records, if they send you a follow-up notice or seek to schedule an audit.

Universal Tax Professionals, LLC offers a flat fee of $350 to amend a federal return and $100 to amend a state return.  As part of the process of preparing your amended return, we will ensure that you are maximizing your potential foreign earned income exclusion, foreign tax credits and any other applicable credits, to obtain the most favorable tax result for you.  Contact us today to get started!