Amended Tax Return: How, When and Why to File One & How to Track the Status

Get your hands on IRS Form 1040X and follow these steps to amend your tax return and track the status of it.
Tina OremDec 8, 2020
Make a Mistake on Your Tax Return? Here's How to Fix It

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An amended tax return corrects mistakes on a federal tax return. Taxpayers use IRS Form 1040X to file an amended return. And if you're wondering, "Where's my amended return?" good news: You can track the progress on the IRS website or by .

Here's how to file an amended to return with the IRS, when to amend a tax return and other rules you need to know.

 is the form you fill out to amend or correct a tax return. On that form, you show the IRS your changes to your tax return and the correct tax amount.

If you're filing Form 1040X to get money back, you generally need to do so within three years of filing your original return or within two years of paying the tax, whichever is later.

You might catch an error before the IRS does, or you might receive new tax documents after you’ve already filed — if your employer sends you , for example. In those cases, don’t fire off a letter to the IRS saying, “Forgot to include some income. Here’s 10 bucks" or "You owe me $50." Fill out Form 1040X.


People with simple tax situations and small changes might be able file an amended tax return on their own. Many  include modules that will file an amended tax return. Many tax preparers are happy to file amended returns as well.

And note: Amending your federal tax return could mean having to amend your state tax return too.

If you used a human tax preparer, don’t assume he or she will amend your tax return for free or pay the extra taxes, interest or penalties from a mistake. If you forgot to give the preparer information or gave incorrect information, for example, you’ll likely have to pay for the extra work.

If the error is the preparer’s fault, who pays for an amended tax return may depend on the wording in your client agreement.

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Generally, the IRS audits only returns from the previous three tax years — though there are major exceptions. So although it might be tempting to wait and see if the IRS will catch you in an error, it might be cheaper to fess up sooner rather than later.

on outstanding tax liabilities going all the way back to the original due date of the tax payment. So the longer you wait to fix a mistake, the more expensive that mistake can get.

Track the progress of your amended tax return using .

You can also the progress of your amended tax return by calling the IRS.

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