Amending your Federal Tax Return

Do you need to make a correction to your Federal Tax Return?

An amended tax return is required for some errors, but not all. You only need to file IRS Form 1040X if you have made a mistake that the IRS cannot fix themselves. Mathematical errors are often corrected by the IRS without you having to take any steps. The IRS will send a letter or notice to you requesting any missing documents, in case you forget to include particular forms so again, it is not necessary to amend your return. Be aware of the fact that the IRS will never reach out to you over the phone or by email. Never give away personal information to anyone who says that he or she is with the IRS – they will contact you via mail.

Depending on the case, however, you may need to amend your Federal Income Tax return. Changes in your filing status, income, tax deductions, or tax credits reported on your original return should be acknowledged by filing an amended return (Form 1040X). There are other cases that call for amended tax returns; you may not have had access to all of your information during the filing period, or if you were unaware that certain items were taxable prior to reporting that they weren’t on your return.  

Even if you don’t have all the information you need or are unsure of something, it is still the best option to file your return on time. Even with mistakes. This will help you avoid any penalties or interest charges.

Amending an Already Filed Tax Return

It’s pretty simple to file an amended return and it should be noted that it can only be done after filing your original return. Also, amended returns cannot be electronically filed but must be mailed. You need to file Form 1040X (Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return) to start the process.

Form 1040X contains 3 columns: Column A, Column B, Column C. The amounts you entered on the original tax return must be presented in Column A while the corrected figures should be presented in Column C. The difference between the amounts in Column A and Column C or the “net change,” must be provided in Column B. In order for the IRS to be able to process your amended return in the shortest duration of time, each change must be clearly explained, with as much information on the mistake as possible, on the form’s second page.

The following should be mailed to the IRS:

  1. Declare the tax year that you are amending on the top of Form 1040X. A separate Form 1040X must be filed for each year that must be amended they have to be in separate envelopes. For you to be able to prove that you did file on time, it is recommended to send the form by certified mail.
  2. You can pay by check, money order, credit card, debit card, or EFTPS (Electronic Federal Tax Payment System) to pay any additional or outstanding taxes. While paying by check or money order, your payment should be put in the envelope with your amended return, but should not be attached to Form 1040X. Electronic payments via credit or debit card or EFTPS should be made by visiting the “Payment Options” section of the IRS website.
  3. Remember to include a copy of the tax return that you are amending (such as your 2014 Form 1040). If any of your previous returns are affected by changes you are making, you should include copies of them with your amended return. This can also include W-2 Forms that you received after filing the original return. Refer to the “Attachment Sequence No.” (shown at the upper right corner of the form/schedule) to file your documents in the correct order behind Form 1040X.

When Should you File an Amended Return

Only after submitting your original tax return, should you file Form 1040X. For the IRS to go through Form 1040X, it customarily takes up to 12 weeks. To check the status of your amended return, you can call 1-866-464-2050, or visit and click on “Tools” and then “Where’s My Amended Return.”

Form 1040X must be filed within 3 years, including tax extensions, after the date of filing the original return or 2 years after paying the tax, whichever is later, if a tax refund or credit is what you’re looking for.

Customarily you are required to file an amended state return to report the federal changes, as well as amending your federal tax return. The majority of cases require that an amended state return be filed ASAP to depreciate the interest and penalties for any state tax balance that is due.

Refer to IRS Instructions for Form 1040X for further information on amended returns.

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