Tips for Deciding When to
File an Amended Tax Return
The October 15 extension to file your tax return has come and gone. Now, you realize you forgot to report something or claim a deduction. Should you file an amended return? Here are some tips to help you decide when to file an amended tax return.
Your first step may be to use the Interactive Tax Assistant, Should I File an Amended Return?, on IRS.gov to help determine if you should correct an error or make other changes to the tax return you already filed.
Reasons You May Need to File an Amended Return
- Entering income incorrectly
- Not claiming credits for which you are eligible
- Claiming deductions incorrectly
The IRS may correct math or clerical errors on a return and may accept returns without certain required forms or schedules. In these instances, there’s no need for you to amend the return.
You should also wait if you expect a refund. You need to allow time for your original tax return to be processed before filing an amended return. The IRS is automatically refunding money to eligible people who filed their tax returns reporting unemployment compensation before changes made by the American Rescue Plan. It may take the agency more than 21 days to issue refunds for some 2020 tax returns that require review, including incorrect Recovery Rebate Credit amounts or returns that used 2019 income to figure the Earned Income Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit.
How to Amend Your Tax Return
It may turn out that you do need to amend your return. Here are some things you should know:
- You may now use tax software to file an electronic Form 1040-X. At this time, only tax year 2019 and 2020 Forms 1040 and 1040-SR returns can be amended electronically and only if the original 2019 or 2020 tax return was also filed electronically.
- Those who cannot or choose not to file their 1040-X electronically should complete a paper Form 1040-X.
- Mail a paper 1040-X to the IRS address listed in the form’s instructions PDF under “Where to File.”
- If you are filing Form 1040-X in response to an IRS notice, mail it to the IRS address indicated on the notice.
- You should attach copies of any forms or schedules affected by the change.
- You will need to file a separate Form 1040-X for each tax year.
- When mailing amended returns to the IRS, place each tax year in a separate envelope and enter the year of the original return being amended at the top of Form 1040-X.
- You should pay additional tax owed as soon as possible to limit interest and penalty charges.
- You must file Form 1040-X to claim a refund within three years from the date you timely filed your original tax return or within two years from the date you pay the tax, whichever is later.
- You can track the status of an amended return three weeks after mailing using the Where’s My Amended Return? tool.
A Final Note
If you have questions about filing an amended tax return, contact your local tax professional.
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