If you need to make any changes to a past year's tax return, file an amended return using Form 1040X. Along with this form, submit any new documentation that pertains only to the changes. There is no need to include any original tax forms with your amended return unless you did not previously submit them or they have changed. Of course, you need these forms in front of you when filling out your amended return, and it's a good idea to hold onto them for your records should any issues with the IRS come up.
Documentation That You Need
To make changes to a previous year's income, deductions or credits, submit an amended return. When filing an amended return, submit only Form 1040X to the IRS along with any supporting documentation and schedules for this form. There is no need to re-submit any documentation you had previously given to the IRS. This includes the any prior year's tax return forms, such as Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, 1040NR or 1040NR EZ that you are amending. The IRS already has this information on file.
Submit only documentation that supports a change to a previous year's tax return, such as a new W-2 with updated information that you received after you filed your taxes. Or, if you have made changes to your itemized deductions, provide an amended Schedule A containing the new information. Amend only documentation that pertains to a change you are making. Enter all descriptions of changes in Part III - Explanation of Changes on Form 1040X.
When to Submit an Amended Return
After you file your taxes, you have up to three years to file an amended return. Note that the timetable for this starts at the deadline for the year that you file. For example, if the deadline for your taxes is April 15, then you have three years from that date, even if you filed your taxes prior to that deadline. Those who had an extension and filed later will get three years from the date that they actually filed. If you file an amended return more than three years after you initially filed, you will not get an adjusted refund for changes made to that return.
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Submitting and Tracking an Amended Return
You can submit an amended tax return only by mail, because Form 1040X cannot be submitted electronically to the IRS. Fill out the form with the new information and new schedules and documentation.
Sign Form 1040X before submitting it or, if applicable, sign the new return. If you and your spouse are changing your filing status from separate to joint, enter the information each of you originally entered on your separate returns and each sign the new return.
After mailing the amended return, wait at least three weeks before checking to see if it was received by the IRS using the Where's My Amended Return? tool online. Most amended returns are processed within 12 weeks, but processing can take up to 16 weeks. Note that any refunds that arise from an amended return are submitted to you via check and include any interest as calculated by the IRS. If you owe the IRS money due to the changes that you have made, you can pay these charges online or by check.