Do I Need to File an Amended Return?

Amended return

Sometimes, despite double checking, you make a mistake on your tax return. You forget that your grandmother who now lives with you could be claimed as a dependent. Circumstances change, and so does our tax situation. Luckily the IRS has provided a way to file a corrected return after your original was already sent to them. Filing an amended return is easier than you think. 

What is an amended return? 

An amended tax return is separate from your original return. If you realize that the return you submitted contains mistakes, the amended return allows you to make the necessary corrections. For example, if you misreported credits, deductions, or earnings, you would submit an amended return with the accurate facts and figures. Mathematical mistakes, on the other hand, are automatically corrected by the IRS.  

Why would I need to file an amended return? 

There are several reasons to file an amended return.  

  • You realize you owe more taxes than you paid. 
  • You did not report the correct income for the year. 
  • Your filing status changed or was incorrectly reported the first time. 
  • You did not claim the correct number of dependents. 
  • You did not claim tax credits or deductions. 
  • You claimed the wrong tax credits or deductions. 

How do I file an amended return? 

To file an amended return, fill out a new Form 1040, and then fill out Form 1040X. If you originally filed with a 1040EZ or a 1040A, you still have to fill out both the 1040 and 1040X to complete your amended return. Also, fill out any other schedules or additional forms.  

Form 1040X has three columns. Under the first column (A), record the original amount reported. Put the corrected amount in column C. Calculate the difference between A and C and write it in column B. This will tell you if you get a refund, owe more taxes, or have no change. In the section on the back of the form, explain what changes you made and why. 

Once you have completed your amended return and are ready to submit, you will have to mail the document directly to the IRS. It cannot be submitted electronically.  

How long does it take to process an amended return? 

It usually takes up to 16 weeks to process an amended return. It is important that you pay attention to the details, though. If you fail to sign or fill out any part of the document, it could take even longer to process.  

What is the IRS statute of limitations? 

A statute of limitations is a law that places a time limit on how long the IRS has to issue a refund check. If you are filing an amended return and you are owed a refund check, you must submit the amendment within three years after you submitted your original return. Otherwise, you forfeit your refund. After three years, the only exception to this rule is receiving a refund for overpaid taxes.  

How do I check the status of my amended return? 

Use this tool from the IRS or call 866-464-2050 three weeks after you file. Have your taxpayer id number, date of birth, and zip code on hand to prove your identity. Your status will either be “Received”, “Adjusted”, or “Completed”.  

This article is up to date and accounts for tax law changes for tax year 2018 (tax returns filed in 2019). Learn more about tax reform enacted under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act here.

Get started today to get your maximum refund.

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