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Filing an Amended Tax Return with Form 1040X

Jo Willetts, EA

Director, Tax Resources

Published on: March 02, 2021

Did you make a mistake on your return or omit an item? You will have to then file an amended form. Read on to see how to file Form 1040X.

What is an amended tax return?

If you made a mistake on your tax return, such as forgetting income or not claiming a deduction or credit, you can use Form 1040X: Amended U.S. Individual Tax Return,  to report missing information and to correct mistakes.

If you are filing your amended return on paper, you should attach any new sources of income documents such as a W-2, a 1099-R with withholding, or a W-2G with withholding. In addition, include any new or changed forms, other than the Form 1040 or 1040-SR.

Do I need to wait for an IRS notice to file an amended tax return?

No.  File an amended return as soon as you determine there was an error.  The longer you wait the more potential penalties and interest can accumulate.  If the changes result in a balance due, pay the bill with the return and the IRS will bill you for any penalty and/or interest, if applicable. If you are eligible for a refund, the IRS may pay you interest. 

If you receive a notice of change from the IRS and you agree with their changes, do not send an amended return with the changes. DO keep a copy of the notice in your file so you can start your following year return with the correct information. 

If you receive a notice of change from the IRS and you disagree and feel the original return is correct, do not send an amended return. Respond back to IRS explaining  why your original return is correct.

If you receive a notice of change from the IRS and you partially agree, send an amended return to clarify which changes you don’t agree with.

Is the deadline to file an amended tax return different?

Form 1040X can be filed at any time. However, if you catch an error, omission, or other discrepancy in a filed return prior to the filing deadline, you may be able to avoid additional penalties and interest by filing Form 1040X before the filing deadline.

If you want to claim a refund from a prior tax year in which you already filed, you must file Form 1040X no later than three years after you filed the original tax return, or two years after you paid the original tax amount due from that return.

Amended returns can take up to 16 weeks to process. To track the status of an amended return, you can use the Where’s My Amended Return? tool on the IRS website. 

New for tax year 2020, Form 1040X for tax years 2020 forward can be filed electronically. At this time, returns can be filed electronically, protecting taxpayer information, and ensuring the tax return reaches the IRS. However, amended tax returns are still being processed by hand.

About the Author

Jo Willetts, Director of Tax Resources at Jackson Hewitt, has more than 35 years of experience in the tax industry. As an Enrolled Agent, Jo has attained the highest level of certification for a tax professional. She began her career at Jackson Hewitt as a Tax Pro, working her way up to General Manager of a franchise store. In her current role, Jo provides expert knowledge company-wide to ensure that tax information distributed through all Jackson Hewitt channels is current and accurate.

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