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amended tax return

How and Why to Amend Your Return

December 28, 2015

You may file an amended return if you think you made a filing error or forgot to claim credits, deductions, or dependents. If you forgot to attach tax forms with your return, however, you may not amend your return. The IRS will ask you to send those. Generally, you can amend a return up to three years after filing it.

How to Amend a Tax Return

To amend Forms 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ, you need to file Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Make sure that you include the year of the return you originally filed at the top of Form 1040X.

If you want to amend more than one return, you are required to send a Form 1040X for each return you wish to amend. Also, you must mail them to the IRS in separate envelopes.

You can file an amended return within three years from filing your original return or within two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. You may expect your amended return to be processed by the IRS within 16 weeks from the date of filing.

More in Refund or Back Taxes?

If you expect to receive an additional refund from your amended return, the IRS advises you to wait until you have received your original refund. You may file Form 1040X after receiving your original refund. Before receiving the additional refund, you may cash your original refund check.

On the other hand, if you owe more in taxes, you may pay the amount owed immediately and file Form 1040X. The sooner you pay the remaining taxes, the less you will pay in penalties and interest.

The IRS charges both penalties and interest on any back taxes even if you have filed your return and paid some of the taxes. An important point to remember here is that even if you received an extension, it is only an extension to file, not to pay. Therefore, you must pay your entire tax bill before the filing deadline to avoid penalties and interest.

If you owe more than you paid, you may satisfy the balance, along with any penalties and interest. If you cannot afford a single payment, you may pay it in installments using an Installment Agreement plan.

“Where’s My Amended Return?” IRS Service

The IRS provides the service “Where’s My Amended Return?” to help taxpayers track their Form1040X amended return. This tool is available to taxpayers anytime, except on Mondays from 12 am to 3 am Eastern Time.

You will need your Social Security number, date of birth, and zip code to check the status of your amended return. You may want to wait until up to three weeks from the date of filing to check the status.