Tax Guide

Get answers to all your questions about taxes, personal finance, insurance and more.

How to Amend a Return

Let's say you've already filed your taxes, and you find a mistake after the IRS has already accepted your return. What now?

Cheer up. You can file an amended return. It’s basically an income tax do-over, courtesy of Form 1040X.

But before we tell you how to amend a return, understand that sometimes you don't have to. You normally don’t need to amend a return to correct math errors. The IRS will make those changes for you. And if you didn’t attach a needed tax form, the IRS will usually send you a request for it.

Amending Your Return

As we mentioned, use Form 1040X – Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to correct errors on your tax return. An amended return must be paper-filed by mail to the IRS.

The IRS says you probably need to amend your return if you made a mistake on your filing status, your income, deductions or credits on your original return.

There’s a three-year window to file an amended return in order to claim a refund. That means you have three years from the date you e-filed your original return, or two years from the date you paid the tax, if that date is later. For example, the last day for most taxpayers to file a 2013 claim for a refund is April 15, 2017.

There are some special rules that may apply, so check out the 1040X instructions for those.

Amending more than one return? You’ll need to prepare a 1040X for each year you amend. Write the year of the return at the top of the 1040X. Form instructions should tell you where to mail it.

Amending Your Return on 1040.com

Since your return has already been accepted, you start the amending process with a 1040X. To add the screen, click on Review on the left, then search for "1040X" using the search box at the bottom of the screen.

Before you start filling out Form 1040X, make sure you print your original return, so that you'll have it to refer to.

Fill out Form 1040X with the information from your original return. At the bottom of the screen, you also must explain why you're amending your return. Save Form 1040X, then correct your return using the other forms on the site, as needed.

Then print your complete return, including Form 1040X, and mail to the IRS address provided in the Form 1040X Instructions. And make sure you sign page 2 of Form 1040X.

If your state return is accepted, you'll also need to file an amended state return. Check your state's tax department website for information on how to do that.

You can track your federal amended return here

When to Send an Amended Return

If you’re due a refund from your original return, wait until you get the refund before filing Form 1040X to claim an additional refund. On the other hand, if you owe more tax, you should file the amended return – and pay the tax – as soon as possible to reduce any interest and penalties.