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What taxpayers should know about amending a tax return

IRS Tax Tip 2018-118, August 1, 2018

Taxpayers who discover they made a mistake on their tax returns after filing can file an amended tax return to correct it. This includes things like changing the filing status, and correcting income, credits or deductions.

Here are some tips for taxpayers who need to amend a tax return.

  • Complete and mail the paper Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Taxpayers must file an amended return on paper whether they filed the original return on paper or electronically. Filers should mail the Form 1040X to the address listed in the form’s instructions. However, taxpayers filing Form 1040X in response to a notice received from the IRS, should mail it to the address shown on the notice.
  • If taxpayers used other IRS forms or schedules to make changes, they should attach those schedules to their Form 1040X.
  • Taxpayers should not amend a tax return to correct math errors; the IRS will make the math corrections for the taxpayers.
  • Taxpayers should also not amend if they forgot to include a required form or schedule. The IRS will mail a request about the missing item.
  • Anyone amending tax returns for more than one year will need a separate 1040X for each tax year. They should mail each tax year’s Form 1040X in separate envelopes.
  • Taxpayers should wait for the refund from their original tax return before filing an amended return. They can cash the refund check from the original return before receiving any additional refund.
  • Taxpayers filing an amended return because they owe more tax should file Form 1040X and pay the tax as soon as possible. This will limit interest and penalty charges.
  • Generally, to claim a refund, taxpayers must file a Form 1040X within three years from the date they timely filed their original tax return or within two years from the date the person pays the tax – usually April 15 – whichever is later.
  • Taxpayers can track the status of an amended return three weeks after mailing using “Where’s My Amended Return?” Processing can take up to 16 weeks.

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