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Tips for Filing an Amended Return

Did you make an error on a federal tax return? If so, you may need to file an amended return. Here are ten tips that can help the taxpayer file.

  1. Tax form to amend a return. Taxpayers should use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to correct a tax return. Taxpayers must file a paper Form 1040X; it cannot be e-filed. Taxpayers can get the form on at any time.
  2. Amend to correct errors. Taxpayers should file amended tax returns to correct errors or make changes to their original tax returns. For example, taxpayers should amend to change a filing status, or to correct income, deductions or credits.
  3. Do not amend for math errors, missing forms. Taxpayers normally do not need to file an amended return to correct math errors. The IRS will automatically correct those errors. Taxpayers do not file an amended return if they forgot to attach tax forms, such as a Form W-2 or a schedule. The IRS will mail a request for the omitted forms in most cases.
  4. Most taxpayers do not need to amend to correct Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, errors. Eligible taxpayers who filed a 2014 tax return and claimed a premium tax credit using incorrect information from either the federally-facilitated or a state-based Health Insurance Marketplace, generally do not have to file an amended return regardless of the nature of the error, even if additional taxes would be owed. The IRS may contact taxpayers to ask for a copy of the corrected Form 1095-A to verify the information.
  5. Time limit to claim a refund. Taxpayers usually have three years from the date they filed their original tax returns to file Form 1040X to claim a refund. Taxpayers can file it within two years from the date they paid the taxes, if that date is later. That means the last day for most people to file a 2011 claim for a refund is April 15, 2015. See the Form 1040X instructions for special rules that apply to some claims.
  6. Separate forms for each year. If a taxpayer is amending more than one tax return, the taxpayer must prepare a 1040X for each year. Taxpayers should mail each year in separate envelope. The taxpayer should note the tax year of the return at the top of Form 1040X. Taxpayers should check the form’s instructions for where to mail the return.
  7. Attach other forms with changes. If the taxpayer uses other IRS forms or schedules to make changes, the taxpayer should make sure to attach the schedules to the Form 1040X.
  8. When to file for a second refund. If a taxpayer is due a refund from the original return, the taxpayer should wait to get that refund before filing Form 1040X to claim an additional refund. Amended returns take up to 16 weeks to process. Taxpayers may spend the original refund while waiting for any additional refund.
  9. Pay added tax as soon as possible. If a taxpayer owes more tax, the taxpayer should file the Form 1040X and pay the tax as soon as possible. This will stop added interest and penalties. Taxpayers should use IRS Direct Pay to pay tax directly from a checking or savings account.
  10. Track amended returns. Taxpayers can track the status of an amended tax return three weeks after filing with ‘Where’s My Amended Return?’ This tool is on or by phone at 866-464-2050. It is available in English and in Spanish. The tool can track the status of an amended return for the current year and up to three years back. To use ‘Where’s My Amended Return?’ the taxpayer should enter his/her taxpayer identification number, which is usually a Social Security number. A taxpayer will also enter his/her date of birth and zip code. If the taxpayer has filed amended returns for multiple years, the taxpayer can check each year one at a time.

Cite: IRS Tax Tip 2015-64, 04/20/15