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Amended Return (1040X) Tips

Generally Taxpayers file amended returns to correct and/or update their original filing information.  The appropriate form to utilize is the Form 1040X which is a three column (Columns A, B & C) format.

The first entry is a check box indicating the tax year the taxpayer is amending.  These boxes cover the four most current years.  There are also check boxes to list another year and/or a fiscal year which is for fiscal year filers.

The next entries request the taxpayer(s) name(s) and social security number(s).  It is very important to list the taxpayer name as it appeared on the original return and in the order (primary, secondary) it appeared on the name line of the original return.  If the names are reversed or do not match IRS records the claim can be delayed or sent back to the taxpayer incomplete.  The social security number is equally important because this is how the taxpayer(s) are identified on IRS records.  Incorrect, transposed numbers will result in an incomplete claim and the entire claim will be returned to the taxpayer for correction. 

If filing Form 1040X for a deceased taxpayer, enter “Deceased,” the deceased taxpayer's name, and the date of death across the top of Form 1040X, page 1.  

If you are filing a joint return as a surviving spouse, enter “Filing as surviving spouse” in the area where you sign the return. If someone else is the personal representative, he or she must also sign.

The address section is very important because it will become the address of record and this is where any subsequent correspondence or refund checks will be mailed. Currently direct deposit of refunds is not available on an amended return.

Although the taxpayer’s phone number is not required, it is recommended.  In certain situations we might have a simple question that could be answered by a phone call as opposed to corresponding with the taxpayer.

The taxpayer should make sure that the correct required forms are attached to the 1040X and are completed.  Also a claim involving dependents/exemptions should have correct SSNs/ITINs or it will be an incomplete claim.

It is mandatory that the figures placed in Column A are the original figures or the original figures as changed by the IRS. Using any other numbers will cause the amended return to be incorrect and could cause delays in processing the 1040X.

Part III Explanation of changes is a key element in processing the 1040X.  This is the taxpayer(s) chance to explain why and what is being changed and it can provide the tax examiner a clear view of what the taxpayer is trying to accomplish.

The amended return cannot be processed unless it is signed by the taxpayer(s) under the “SIGN HERE” area.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 22-Jul-2016