Every year there are plenty of taxpayers who file a return with the IRS and then need to change it. The only way to do this is to prepare and submit an amended return, Form 1040X [Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return], to the IRS. Once filed, Form 1040X will become your new tax return, changing the information submitted in the original.
There are several reasons to amend a return:
- Your personal information was incorrect – This can include your name, social security number, or filing status. The latter is particularly important, as it can affect various thresholds that have a large impact on your tax due/refund.
- You received a new tax form – If you received a new tax form after you filed your return, you will need to file an amended return, especially if that form was a W-2 or 1099. Employers use these forms to report income to you and the IRS. The IRS knows you made this money and will hold you accountable for back taxes (not to mention penalties and interest) if you don’t report it.
- You missed a credit or deduction – If you forgot to claim a sizable credit or deduction when you originally prepared your return, then it may make sense to file an amended return, especially if it results in a significantly smaller tax liability or a significantly larger refund.
Before you can file an amended return, the original will have to be accepted by the IRS. If you e-filed, you should receive notification that your return was accepted. If you paper filed, your return is considered accepted when the mailed copy reaches the IRS.
There is a time limit for amending your return. An amended return must be filed within 3 years of when the original return was filed or within 2 years of when you paid the tax due, whichever is later.
As with most late tax forms, an amended return cannot be e-filed. You will have to print it out and snail mail it to the IRS the old-fashioned way.
When you do amend your federal return, it’s a good idea to amend whatever state returns you filed as well. The two are often interconnected, and you’ll want to make sure to avoid any legal trouble with your state as well.
Generally it’s a good idea to file your amended return with the same tax preparers that filed your original. You can use LateTax to amend your return if you filed your original return here. Log back into your account for the option of amending your return.