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Amending a Tax Return

If you file your individual tax return and then realize you made a mistake, you can change your tax return. Usually this involves filing Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to report changes to your income, deductions or credits. You may also be able to make certain changes to your filing status.

What do I need to know?

If the IRS finds mistakes like a math error or missing schedule before you do, you’ll get an IRS notice. The notice will tell you about the error and what information (if any) you need to submit to the IRS to correct it. See Incorrect Tax Return for more information. When the IRS sends you a notice about errors, there are usually other ways to correct errors besides an amended tax return.

If all you need to correct is your address, there are several ways to change your address.

Amending multiple returns

If you’re changing your tax returns for multiple tax years, mail an IRS Form 1040-X for each year separately.

Processing Timeframes during COVID-19

Due to COVID-19 return processing timeframes may be longer. Check IRS.gov for updated timeframes.



What should I do?

Before filing an amended tax return:

  • If you’re not sure what amounts your original return showed or you want to see any adjustments the IRS may have made, you should get a transcript.
  • Verify the information the IRS has on file for you matches the tax year information you’re amending.
      • For a record of your tax return, request a tax return transcript.
      • For a record of any adjustments the IRS may have made to your account, in addition to the amounts reported on your original return, get a Record of Account.

Gather your documents such as a copy of the return you are amending, all IRS Forms W-2 or W-2C, IRS Forms 1099 or 1099C, etc. that support the changes you wish to make. Be sure to keep copies for your records.

  • Review and follow all the Form 1040-X Instructions before submitting your amended tax return. Be sure to read the “Special Situations” section for instances that have special conditions or rules you need to follow.

Filing an amended tax return

Important: You can’t file an amended tax return electronically. You must mail it to the IRS.  

To file your amended tax return:

  • Use an Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.
  • Attach copies of all forms and schedules that you’re changing.
  • Mail all documents using the “Where to File” information in the IRS Form 1040-X Instructions.  Generally, unless there’s a special situation or you’re submitting your form in response to an IRS notice, send it to the same IRS address where you filed your original return.
  • If you owe a balance, make a payment with the amended tax return, if possible.  If you can’t make partial or full payment, there may be other options.

How will this affect me?

Understand – Your state tax amount may be affected by changes on your federal tax return. For information on how to correct your state tax return, contact your state tax agency.

The normal processing time for an Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, is between 8 and 12 weeks from the time the IRS receives your tax return. However, in some cases, processing could take up to 16 weeks. If you owe a balance from the changes on your amended tax return:

  • If it is before the original due date of your individual tax return (generally April 15 of each year), file Form 1040-X, and pay the tax by the due date for that year (without regard to any extension of time to file) to avoid penalties and interest.
  • If you file and pay after the original due date of your individual tax return, the IRS may charge interest and penalties.

If you’re due a refund based on the changes you’re making, you generally MUST file the amended return within three years from the date you filed your original return, or within two years after the date you paid the tax, whichever is later, to get a refund.

The IRS won’t process your amended tax return if:

  • You don’t attach all the forms and schedules you’re changing.
  • The amounts on your amended tax return don’t match the IRS’s records from your original return.
    • Pay special attention to Column A of IRS Form 1040-X: adjusted gross income, taxable income, and tax.  This is where most errors occur.

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act prevents you from filing past due returns or amended returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit/Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), or American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) if the reason you’re filing is because you now have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) required for each credit but such TIN wasn’t issued on or before the due date of the return (including a valid extension).

If you aren’t sure what was on your original tax return, get a transcript. If you receive a notice that the IRS needs more information to process your amended tax return, send that information to the address on the notice within the time given to help speed up the processing.


Wait, I still need help.

Browse common tax issues and situations at Get Help.

If your IRS problem is causing you financial hardship, you’ve tried repeatedly and aren’t receiving a response from the IRS, or you feel your taxpayer rights aren’t being respected, consider contacting Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS).

You may be eligible for representation from an attorney, certified public accountant (CPA), or enrolled agent (EA) associated with a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC). LITCs also provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language.

If you have more questions about a missing refund, visit “I don’t have my refund.”


Tax Topic 308, Amended Returns

IRS Questions & Answers about Amended Returns

Some VITA or TCE sites complete amended returns and may be able to help you for free if you qualify

Check the Status of your Amended Return

You can check the status of your Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return using the “Where’s My Amended Return?” online tool or the toll-free telephone number (866) 464-2050 three weeks after you file your amended tax return. Both methods are available in English and Spanish and track the status of amended tax returns for the current year and up to three prior years.