Tax season can be stressful. It's easy to miss or overlook something with all the pressure to meet the deadline. But you can file an amended return if you make a mistake. You can check the status of that return at the Where's My Amended Return? page on the IRS website after you've filed.
What Is an Amended Return?
Form 1040-X, the Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, lets the IRS know that you've made a mistake. But it isn't simply a matter of waving a red flag. Form 1040-X includes columns where you can enter information as it appeared on your original return and the correct information as it should have appeared. The IRS will take a look at the information you’ve updated and it will correct it in its system.
You may be asked to complete Form 1040-X if the IRS gets in touch with you to notify you of a problem with the first return you submitted, or to request additional information. You can file the form electronically beginning with the 2019 tax year.
Read more: Amended Tax Return: How to File, Facts & More
When Are Amended Returns Used?
You can use Form 1040-X for several purposes:
- To make corrections to Forms 1040, 1040-SR, 1040-NR, or 1040NR-EZ
- To make elections after the tax deadline has passed
- To change amounts that the IRS has previously adjusted for you
- To make a carryback claim if you have an unused credit
You can amend your income tax return up to within three years from the date you filed the return, or two years from the date when you paid any tax due on that return, whichever is later. Form 1040-X can only amend your federal return. Check with your state's Department of Revenue for its rules for amending a state tax return.
Amended Tax Return Turnaround Time
The IRS has indicated that it will be processing amended returns within about 20 weeks in 2022. This is a little longer than usual due to COVID-19. It normally takes about 16 weeks. You should be able to find information regarding your form on the Where's My Amended Return? page within three weeks. Direct deposit can speed the refund process up if you're expecting one based on your amended return.
Check Amended Tax Return’s Status
The best way to check your tax return’s status is by using the Where's my Refund? tool on the IRS website, but you can also call the IRS at 866-464-2050. Keep in mind that live phone support was still suffering service delays as of January 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The IRS indicates that the Where’s My Amended Return? tool will give you the most up-to-date information.
You must provide your Social Security number, your date of birth and your ZIP code when you log in for identity verification purposes. You’ll see the progress of your return along the following statuses when it's been entered into the system:
Reasons for Processing Delays
Mistakes on your 1040-X can delay processing. There could be something wrong if your return seems to be stuck in the system after a couple of months. Common reasons for delays include errors in calculations or information, such as entering the wrong Social Security number. Processing can be delayed if you leave crucial sections of the tax form blank or fail to sign and date it.
Read more: How to Track Down Your Tax Refund
Delays Due to Information Requests
The IRS will communicate with you by postal mail if it has any questions. You’ll find a letter in your mailbox if the agency needs additional information to process your return. The letter will detail what you should do to provide the IRS with the information it needs, or it might just notify you that there’s been a delay in processing and tell you why. The IRS will never email you, text you or call you for information.
Keep a close eye on your mail while you have a tax return processing, and keep in mind that scams can happen. A legitimate IRS letter will have an identification number at either the top or bottom right corner of the letter. You can call the IRS at 800-829-1040 if you have concerns, but again, expect some delays if you're calling in 2022.
Specialized Routing Within the IRS
Some amended tax returns take longer to process simply because of their nature. It could slow things down if your amended return includes a Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation, or if it requires routing to a specialized area. It will have to go through the IRS’s bankruptcy department if your return involves a bankruptcy. Your amended return will also have to go through a specialized process if it includes a request for an appeal or reconsideration of an IRS decision. All this can take a little extra time.
- IRS: Form 1040-X
- IRS: Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, Frequently Asked Questions
- IRS: About Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return
- IRS: Get Your Refund Faster Tell IRS To Direct Deposit Your Refund To One, Two, or Three Accounts
- IRS: Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter
- IRS: Top 10 Tax Tips About Filing an Amended Tax Return
- IRS: IRS Operations During COVID-19 – Mission-Critical Functions Continue
- IRS: Form 8379 Injured Spouse Allocation
Stephanie Faris has written about finance for entrepreneurs and marketing firms since 2013. She spent nearly a year as a ghostwriter for a credit card processing service and has ghostwritten about finance for numerous marketing firms and entrepreneurs. Her work has appeared on The Motley Fool, MoneyGeek, Ecommerce Insiders, GoBankingRates, and ThriveBy30.