Ten Facts about Amended Tax Returns

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Did you discover that you made a mistake after you filed your federal tax return? You can make it right by filing an amended tax return. Here are the top ten things to know about filing an amended tax return.

1. Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to correct errors on your tax return. You must file an amended return on paper. It can’t be e-filed.

2. You usually should file an amended tax return if you made an error claiming your filing status, income, deductions or credits on your original return.

3. You normally don’t need to file an amended return to correct math errors. The IRS will automatically make those changes for you. Also, do not file an amended return because you forgot to attach tax forms, such as a W-2 or schedule. The IRS will usually send you a request for those.

4. You usually have three years from the date you filed your original tax return to file Form 1040X to claim a refund. You can file it within two years from the date you paid the tax, if that date is later. That means the last day for most people to file a 2010 claim for a refund is April 15, 2014. See the 1040X instructions for special rules that apply to certain claims.

5. If you are amending more than one tax return, prepare a 1040X for each year. You should mail each year in separate envelopes. Note the tax year of the return you are amending at the top of Form 1040X. Check the form’s instructions for where to mail your return.

6. If you use other IRS forms or schedules to make changes, make sure to attach them to your Form 1040X.

7. If you are due a refund from your original return, wait to receive that refund before filing Form 1040X to claim an additional refund. Amended returns take up to 12 weeks to process. You may spend your original refund while you wait for any additional refund.

8. If you owe more tax, file your Form 1040X and pay the tax as soon as possible. This will reduce any interest and penalties.

9. You can track the status of your amended tax return three weeks after you file with ‘Where’s My Amended Return?’ This tool is available on IRS.gov or by phone at 866-464-2050. It’s 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.

10. To use ‘Where’s My Amended Return?’ enter your taxpayer identification number, which is usually your Social Security number. You will also need your date of birth and zip code. If you have filed amended returns for multiple years, select each year one by one.

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