When Should You Amend Your Tax Return?

Tax Planning Amended 1040x

A few years ago, after preparing my taxes, I realized I left off some income I earned that year. As a sole proprietor of a personal finance blog, I would receive several 1099-MISC forms each year from various vendors. A 1099-MISC is to freelancers what a W-2 is to a full time employee( a statement of income that is sent to you and filed with the IRS). I knew that since I left it off, it would only be a matter of time before the IRS checked the numbers and saw a mismatch. The solution? File an amended return.

It’s not that uncommon to forget something on your taxes considering how complicated they can be. Perhaps you didn’t record all of your deductions and credits or you entered the wrong filing status. A 1099-INT from one of your banks gets lost in the mail and delivered a few months late? If you make a major mistake, it becomes necessary to file an amended return. Here are some situations that call for filing an amended return:

  • Change in filing status
  • Inaccurate reporting of number of dependents
  • Mistake in reporting your total income
  • Error in figuring deductions and/or credits
  • You e-filed, have one of the above situations, and you received confirmation from the IRS or state taxing agency that your return was accepted

There is an exception to the above rules.  Let’s say you e-filed your tax return, but it’s rejected and you discover you made a mistake that usually calls for an amendment.  If the return is rejected, you can fix the error without an amendment, because the IRS did not accept your return.  If you missed the e-file deadline, print and paper file your corrected tax return.  Also, be sure to pay attention to your state tax return.  In some cases, it may be accepted although the federal tax return was rejected.  If that is the case, you will need to amend your state tax return.

There is usually no need to file an amended return if you have made a calculation error. Normally, the IRS will fix these minor mistakes (this is most common with paper returns). Additionally, if you forgot to include documentation, such as a W-2 with a paper filed return, the IRS will request the documentation.

How to File an Amended Return
If you need to file an amended return, you should use Form 1040X. You can file an amended return for multiple years, but you need a separate Form 1040X for each year, and each return should be filed separately. As you fill out the form, understand that Column A should include original figures, and Column C should show the new figures. The difference between the two should be listed in Column B. If you are listing changes on various schedules, such as Schedule A or Schedule C, you will need to include them with your Form 1040X.  There is no need to worry about the complicated calculations, TurboTax does the behind the scenes calculations for you when amending your return.

When you are claiming an additional refund, you should wait until your original refund arrives before you file your Form 1040X. You can cash your check, but you still should wait until your current tax return is resolved. That way, you know where you stand. In order to qualify for an additional refund, you will need to file within three years from the date of your original return, or within two years of paying your tax (whichever is later).

If your mistake resulted in under-paying your taxes, you should file your amended return as soon as you possibly can. The longer you wait to file your 1040X, the more you will pay in interest fees and penalties, if you owe. Unfortunately, there is no way to file your 1040X electronically but this may be offered sometime in the near future.

One important thing to remember when amending your tax return is to always keep a copy of your original filed tax return and create an amended tax return from an additional copy.

You can correct mistakes on your tax return with the help of an amended return; just make sure you follow proper procedures.  For more information on amending your return see Amend a 2010 Tax Return.

Comments (217) Leave your comment

  1. We put the wrong amount for property taxes paid in 2013. We put $1400, and they were actually $5600. Can we amend this? Also, we paid a hefty amount in taxes this year because I work a commission only job, will the IRS send us a check for the difference, how does this work?

  2. I forgot to add good earnings on two differet years books ! now how do I get them to add these two checks to my old taxes

  3. I filed in the tax form that I will contribute to Roth IRA but forgot to do ir before April 15th. I already got refund. Do I need to amend my return since there is no change in tax basis?

    1. Hi Gigy,
      If you said you were contributing to a Roth IRA and did not there is no impact to your tax return since contributions to a Roth IRA are not deductible. You just need to remember that you didn’t actually contribute when keeping track of the basis in your IRA.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  4. What do you do if you in sent in a check to the IRS when filing for an extension but inadvertently forgot to put the form in the mail with the check? My wife sent the check but did not put our social security number on the check.

    1. Hi Dan,
      Sorry that happened. I would definitely call the IRS 1(800)829-1040 and let them know it was sent without the voucher and social security number as they have specific instructions regarding sending the voucher along with your social security number on the check
      http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Paying-a-Balance-Due-%28Lockbox%29-for-Individuals
      Hopefully there is something they can do. If not, maybe you can cancel the check and resend it. To be safe and so the payment gets to the IRS quicker you can go online and make a payment for your tax liability through IRS.gov once you cancel the check.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

      1. Hi I am 19 I filed my taxes this year but didn’t know that my mother claimed me before I filed. Long story short I never got my tax return. How can I get them fixed?

  5. I received a substantial amount of return for the Lifetime Learning Credit this year. Last year I was enrolled in more graduate courses and made $8,000 less in income. I used TurboTax both years. Nothing else in my earnings or student status was different. Was there an error in my 2012 return? Should I amend it?

  6. My mother’s tax preparer submitted her taxes electronically but forgot to include the estimated taxes she paid in 2013 to the IRS Since the payments were made to the IRS will it automatically be picked up and corrected on the 1040 return or will an amended return need to be completed?

    1. Hi Sandra,
      It is quite possible they will pick it up and adjust her tax return automatically, especially if her social security nos are on her estimated tax payments. Wait until she gets her original refund to see if they picked it up. Or if she owed, they often send an adjustment letter.
      If her estimated tax payments are not picked up by the IRS, use TurboTax to file an amended tax return – be sure to start with the original tax return she filed (no changes or alterations), them enter the estimated payments in the Form 1040X amended tax return. Amended returns will need to be mailed in.
      Either way, she’ll get credited for her payments.

    2. Hi Sandra,
      The IRS may send an adjustment. You can wait and see if the IRS makes the adjustment. If not you can do an amendment.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  7. Hi! Exiled returns, they got accepted. Then found a form with ~300 in interest income from IRS (May have been for refund they had owed me after I back adjusted a couple of years of returns that were incorrectly done). Is it worth it to file an amended return for this? Thank you!

    1. Hi Lisa,
      If your tax return was already accepted then you can amend it, but you can also wait and see if the IRS adjust it.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  8. I filed taxes this year but forgot to include my 1098 from my student loan. I want to amend my taxes how long do I have to do so?

    1. Hi Tiffany,
      If adding your new form results in additional taxes, be sure to file and pay the additional taxes by April 15th. All 2013 tax payments are due on the 15th, even if you file for an extension.
      However, when a mew form results in more refund to you, the IRS will not be concerned if you amend after the 15th as they can keep your money longer, until you do file the amended tax return. Do file though, as the IRS also receives copies of those forms, and they’ll know it should be in your return.
      Note that amended tax returns are mailed in, so they’ll take longer to process.

  9. I got maried in september and filed single because I was single for 9 months of the year not realizing that I should have filed married but filling seperate. My wife filed correctly (state) and her federal return was already accepted but had her listed as single. what should I do?

  10. My daughter filed her taxes accidentally stating no one will claim her. I do claim her and did my taxes to show this. Hers were accepted, and mine rejected. She filed an amended return which has been accepted. Now when I try to e-file my federal return, it is still being rejected every time. My State (California) return has been completed with her as my dependent, and I have received my refund for the State. How can I get the IRS to accept my Federal? Do I have to mail a paper return, and if so, do I have to include anything from my daughters amended return? Please help!

    1. Hi Stacy, Once a return was electronically filed with your daughter’s social security number, another return can not go through with her number. So you will have to print out and mail your return.

      If you used TurboTax, go back through and let the software know you are no longer electronically filing the return- instead you are printing and mailing it. When you print out the federal return, the instruction letter will have the address to send it to.

      You don’t have to include anything from your daughter’s return…all of her tax information was on her tax return.

      Hope this answers your questions.

      Lee

  11. I filed 2011 tax files through turbo tax. Then I found out I forgot to report income due to a retirement account. I filed an amended return for 2011, for which I had to pay additional Fed and state taxes. Would this then affect anything on my 2012 returns that I would need to file an amended 2012 return for? Yes, I know it’s 2014 but want to make sure this issue is behind me before filing our 2013. Thanks!

  12. Amending 2011 return (found charitable contribution receipts not included), and following instructions. When I go to 2011 turbo tax, updating software, selecting amend, I get a message that my return is still pending even though I sent a check 2 years ago, and 2012 and 2013 were accepted. I think it was mailed, but Turbo Tax tells me it is still pending, so can’t amend! Help or hints?

  13. Hello. Last year (taxYr’12) I failed to claim (deduct) Investment Advisor fees (~$1500), so I am strongly considering filing a 1040x with a goal of a modest refund. [I filed federal, NY, MD, and VA.] My question is, if I file, will I need copies of all the W2’s etc from last year to staple to the submission(s)?
    Thank you for any help you can provide! 🙂

  14. My mother has recently discovered that she had about $9500 worth of income she received from being the executor of a will back in 2000. She was not aware she had to claim this. Does the IRS require that you go back that far to report unclaimed income?

  15. I am international student and i did tax returns using 1040 form.I was unaware of 1040NR form. I got mail as well that my e-file is accepted by IRS as well. but when i searched over internet, I found that as I am non resident I have to fill 1040NR. So now what should I do to correct my mistake.

    Thanks
    Shailesh

  16. My children filed their taxes .Claiming themselves as exemptions on their taxes.They got a tax refund.When i went to file my taxes i couldn’t claim them as exemptions.Do i need to Amended their tases before i finish mine ?. also they got a refund do i need to return their refunds .Before i can get my refund. I know somebody needs to use form 1040x who should do this ? .

  17. Hi,
    I NEED help!
    I went to an accountant and got my taxes done. My daughters SSN was put down correctly but they put down my last name instead of her fathers which is HOW IT APPEARS on her SSN card that I handed them. NOW the IRS website says my return was accepted, my child tax credit was rejected because of the wrong name, my amount has changed, and will be deposited in the next few days! What am I supposed to do?!

    Thank you!
    Allison

  18. We usually claim our daughter (a college student that works part time) with no problem, but we found out that because she made $300 over the limit of $10,000 (single), she will need to file. Should we file an amendment? Which form?

  19. I just found a tax paper for a few shares of stock I sold. I have already filed my taxes and received my state refund. How much trouble am I in?
    I am freaking out!!

  20. hey i filed my Illinois tax return and i accidentally put my employer address in Illinois but it is in OH. Will I have to do anything about this?

  21. I just received corrected W-2 forms for 1998 through 2002 and no longer have the originals, as this was so long ago. In this case, do you need to request the original information from the IRS or are there other options? Thank you so much.

  22. Hi Lisa,

    I am going to amend my Maine State tax return to include the Opportunity Maine refund. When I went to amend, it brought my federal taxes to $0 (it was previously $1,500). Is this accurate and when I print out to send to Maine, will the $0 shown for the federal affect anything with Maine?

  23. I just filed my return, but claimed student loan interest that I did not pay (but was accrued). If I don’t amend it, will the IRS just send me a tax bill for it? I did include my wife’s interest paid. I started to play with it, and it affected my return by about $200 (that I would owe back). What do you think?

  24. My brother always claims his daughter, but when she did her taxes on Turbo Tax, she checked the wrong box and says SHE pays for over half her support, rather than the one that says HE does. Now the FED rejected his return and says he can’t claim her. Can she have hers amended so that he can resubmit his with her as a dependent? How long will that take?

    1. Hi Stacy,
      If her tax return was not accepted and is rejected she doesn’t need to amend it she can just fix it to indicate that he pays over half of the support. If hers is accepted then she will have to amend it and wait until the amended tax return is processed and approved. Approval on amended tax returns can take up to 16 weeks per the IRS http://www.irs.gov/Filing/Individuals/Amended-Returns-%28Form-1040-X%29/Wheres-My-Amended-Return-1.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

      1. Thank you. I am sending her amended forms today. So you are saying my brother has to wait until his daughters amended ones are cleared by IRS before filing his? I hope it isn’t after April 15th.

  25. Hello, I have filed with turbotax previously. This year I did as well. I recently got a divorce, to which we decided to file under married filling separately. However, I was so accustomed to filling jointly that i didn’t see the mistake and left it as joint. When I received my refund it was a few thousand dollars short. I did my research and found out that I had filed joint and that my ex had a debt with the federal government. Can I make an Amendment or should I file again as injured spouse?

  26. Hello I have a question, both my motber and I live in the same household (address) however I live in a back house. She recently received a audit for her2012 taxes due to her filing status head of household. I have a daughter and claimed head of household for 2012 and 2013. However she also has a daughter under 18 and has also claimed head of household. Do I need to ammend my taxes 2012 and 2013? Will she recive another audit for 2013?

  27. the tax preparer put my kids ssn in wrong and the irs rejected it! so I had it modified at Jackson Hewitt and resubmitted. my question is, will it go through the whole process over, or will it go straight back to the irs to continue where it left of before the rejection? ??

  28. i filed my return on jan 31st and it was accepted the same day. shortly after i realized i had entered in the wrong number for income. then a few days later i got a 1099-int from my bank. i calculated the new numbers and the difference only comes out to be about 5 dollars that the irs would owe me. i have always received my refund within 6-8 days, this is day 10 and WMR is still saying its processing. my question is will the irs catch my mistake and change it, or will they refund me anyways and then ill have to file an amendment? if they do catch it and fix it, how long will it be delayed? ive tried calling and cannot get a real person on the phone.

  29. My husband and I filed our taxes. We then decided to try Turbo Tax. It gave us MUCH more back than my accountant showed we would get. When I went to Amend, it put our refund down to $0. What does that mean and how do we fix it? We want to use Turbo tax!!!

  30. Hey there. I have some medical bills that I don’t have the access to at the moment, but I can possibly later this week. I just finished filling out all of my other info on TurboTax and am ready to submit otherwise.

    Should I wait until I get the paperwork or is it alright if I file that after I submit?

  31. I got some bad advice and deducted my personal car and mileage from my taxes even though I don’t own a business. My return was already accepted. Will the IRS catch and reject this?

  32. I efiled on 1/29/2014 and the IRS accepted my return on 1/31/14 but my friend missed spelled my children last names. I checked the IRS website and it still saying processing what can I do the children SSN was correct .I don’t know what to do.Or if the IRS will fix the typo or what ?HELP.

  33. If a state tax return is filed and a child care tax credit is used, by mistake, should the tax be amended? Turns out the agency used in the tax return is not supporting the child care because the money is paid in cash directly to the person they send and not to the agency.

  34. I forgot about 50 dollars of interest in a 1099-INT I received from my bank.. and of course I just filed my taxes without adding that. Should I amend my return? Its currently listed as “accepted”

  35. I just filed my taxes and I completely forgot about the 1099-INT I recently received for 50 dollars. Is this enough to amend my tax return?

    Best,
    Jeff

  36. In my previous comment I meant that we filed on our taxes that we had not received the 401k check because at the time we hadn’t.

  37. We have already filed taxes and just recently received a check in the amount of $53 from 401k we did not include that amount we said on out taxes we hadn’t recurved anything. I am now scared. Will I get in trouble? What should I do?

  38. I just filed by tax using Turbo tax two days back and IRS has accepted it. I realized just now that I missed adding a 1099-B from morgan Stanley smith barney, the tax that I owe comes out of this 1099-B is just 1 dollar, should I amend my return?

  39. Hi!

    This is my first time filing my own return and filled everything out perfectly and sent it. I got my refund yesterday. I received a letter from my first loan company when I first bought the house last yr. But I had put all the info from my current loan company. I amended my return s nd added the insurance premium and a little more tax. Well my income return stayed the same I dont owe them they dont owe me. Do I still have to send it in?

  40. I have an issue where my current job reported the amount I earned form another job? it was around 900. I received two w2s, but i had an issue filing electronically, which lead me to owing state taxes.. I just found out today that the company that reported the 900 with my other income that i should combine and then report it, while the company that PAID me the 900 stated that I should contact them and that it was probably something they should not be doing?

    now im waiting for the person who filed by taxes ( HR BLOCK) but he appeared to say that there’s nothing that can be done? Is there anything I can do?

  41. I filed my returns with my last pay stub and forgot to add a 150.00 bonus, therefore my w2 is 150.00 difference. I was accepted by federal and state. Do I do an amended return now or wait and see what happens?

  42. I missed a 1099 INT for $235. Should I file an amended form or let it go? I just filed it an hour ago online with TurboTax.

    Thanks

  43. I forgot I didnt change my address at work when I moved and I used my new address on my return. the irs have already accepted it. does this mean I will have to amend them?

    1. I forgot to change my address with my employer for the first two months of 2013, so I ended up accidentally paying taxes in Maryland even though I was living in DC. Do I need to file taxes for Maryland AND DC? Do I get my Maryland taxes back?

  44. The tax person put my son name wrong she put the.social right and his birthdate but she put my name now I file my son every.year will this delay my refund or what because they have excepted it

  45. I filed my husband and mines taxes online myself. After filing it dawned on me that he had cashed out a small 401k at the beginning of the year. It was something like 5k, I know we paid taxes on it and a fee to cashit out. My question is will the irs catch this and change it? Do I need to file an amendment and will this delay my refund? Thanks!

  46. I bought a house dec.2012,but forgot to put it on my tax return last year.Can I put it on this years return or file an amended return.This is my second home

  47. My employer changed it’s name and therefore received a new EIN. I did not realize this and filed my return with the old EIN. Do I need to amend my return?

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