Money Icon

Amended Tax Return

Amended Tax Return

You’ve filed your federal tax return and then realize that you forgot to include an item of income or a big deduction, or filled out a form completely wrong! Don’t stress out about it – it’s possible to file an amended federal tax return, as long as you file within a certain period after the return due date.

While nobody ever wants to make an error on their expat tax return, the IRS has a way to make the necessary corrections via an amended tax return, filed on Form 1040X. By filing the amended return, you can claim an additional refund you are owed or pay an additional tax you owe due to your tax liability change. Please note that in some cases, you won’t need to amend your return at all, even if there was an error or omission. If the error was from a miscalculation, the IRS might automatically correct the error.

What are Typical Scenarios Requiring An Expat to Amend Their US Tax Returns?

  • To change their filing status
  • To add additional information, such as a dependent
  • To add additional forms that they did not initially realize needed to be included in the return, such as FATCA Form 8938 to report foreign financial accounts and other foreign assets
  • To add non-US source income which they neglected to include on the return
  • To claim credits or deductions not claimed on the original return – for example, the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit for expats who are parents of a qualifying child, or prior-year foreign tax credit carryovers

Table of Contents

When is the Due Date for Filing an Amended Return?

Timing is crucial when it comes to filing an Amended Tax Return for US Expats. The due date for submitting an amended return is generally within three years from the original filing deadline or within two years from the date the tax was paid, whichever is later. This timeframe provides expatriates with a reasonable window to identify errors, omissions, or changes in their tax situation and address them promptly.

It’s important to note that the specific due date may vary depending on individual circumstances. For example, if you discovered an error in your 2020 US tax return related to unreported foreign income, you have until June 2024 to file an amended tax return —three years from the original filing deadline, which is June 15, 2021. On the other hand, if you overpaid your taxes and are seeking a refund, the two-year window begins from the date you made the tax payment.

Timely action is not only advisable to avoid penalties and interest but is also essential to ensure the accuracy of your financial records. Filing an Amended Tax Return within the prescribed timeframe reflects your commitment to compliance and may mitigate potential repercussions that could arise from delayed corrections.

What is the Process for Amending a Federal Return?

  • The tax year for which the return is being amended should be written on the top of page 1 of Form 1040X.
  • If the revisions include another form or schedule, that form or schedule needs to be attached to the amended return.
  • If an additional refund is being claimed beyond the original refund, expats should wait until they receive the original refund, before filing 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.
  • In the past, the IRS only accepted paper-filed amended returns.  In 2020 the IRS began accepting e-filed amended returns, for 2019 and subsequent tax years.

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. Expats should retain all documentation related to the revisions made to prepare the amended return, in case the IRS requests it via a subsequent notice or audit.

Universal Tax Professionals provides a wide range of 
US expat tax services to assist all Americans living abroad. We offer a flat rate fee to amend a federal return. As part of the process of preparing your amended return, we will ensure that you are maximizing your potential foreign earned income exclusion ($120,000 for 2023 US tax year), foreign tax credits and any other applicable credits, to obtain the most favorable tax result for you.