How to make a tax amendment?

Tax season is tough and the IRS knows it. That is why they have launched a modality that allows any citizen fix their taxes when they have made a mistake. In fact, if the error comes from a mathematical calculation, the tax agency itself will correct it and inform you of the change.

But if it’s something more serious, like the wrong amount of income or the wrong filing status, simply completing Form 1040X will suffice. How to make a tax amendment? We tell you! Discover the step by step here: you will see that the procedure is easier than it seems.

How to make a tax amendment?

How to make a tax amendment? Step by Step

The process to fix the taxes is easy and fast, at least as long as you do not have a complicated tax situation. If you think you’re not capable of completing Form 1040X to file an amended return on your own – or don’t even know how to fix the error – don’t hesitate to hire a tax professional. It will always be better to pay your fees than the IRS penalty.

#1 Find all the documents you need for the tax amendment

The first and main document that you should have on hand when amending your taxes is your original tax return. Also look for all the documents you used to file the return, that is, your proof of income (Form W-2 and Form 1099, among others). Remember that if you received an amended form, you should not use the old one, but the most recent.

In case you are claiming a tax deduction or a tax credit, you will also need supporting documentation, such as the Form 1098-T (for educational credits) or the donation receipt that you did to an NGO, your local church or charity.

#2 Download Form 1040 from the IRS website

This is the heart of your amended return, so don’t forget to download it from the IRS website and print it out. Of course, it’s not the only form you’ll need: it is also important that you get all those forms that have been affected by the error you made in the original declaration. For example, if you need to add new dividends that you had not reflected before, you will have to have the Schedule B on hand. To change deductions, Annex A, etc.

If you need to amend your tax year 2019 return, you will be able to do so using a tax program. If your amendment covers previous years, the only option is to complete and submit the paper form.

Remember: You can use other forms instead of going with the 1040X, but this option is only available for limited situations. For example, IRS Form 843 will work if you are requesting a penalty refund. Form 1045, in case you need to report a tax loss.

It is important that, if you have several tax returns with errors, you file a single 1040X return for each of the years to be amended. We also recommend that you file them separately and don’t forget to check the box above to tell the IRS which year the amended return is for.

#3 Complete the entire Form 1040X

Basically, Form 1040X can be divided into three different sections:

  • The first column should contain the numbers presented on your original tax return. That is why it is so important to have it on hand.
  • The second column must contain the additional or remaining amounts that would modify the amount of the first column. For example, if you declared $1,000 in interest and dividends, but forgot to include the $150 you received from a savings account that you thought was lost, you should put the declared dollars ($1,000) in the first column and the dollars you forgot to declare ($150) in the second column. .
  • The third column should show the correct total amount. Following the previous example, when you add the $1,000 that you had already declared and the $150 that you have left to declare, you would get $1,150. Copy this result into Column C.

Do not forget to sign the amended return and attach all the required documents and forms. Also check that you have filled in everything correctly before sending the information. You won’t want to go wrong again.

Note: Reserve Part III of the Form to explain your reasons for filing an amended return.

Do not forget: You will need to consign Notice CP2000 in case you are amending your return by order of the IRS.

#4 Send the tax amendment before the deadline

First of all, you should know that there is a limit to file amended returns and this period is three years from the day you filed the original return.

Previously, Form 1040X could only be submitted by mail, but this changed beginning in 2019. If you need to amend a return from 2018 or from a previous year, you can only do so by mail. If it’s from 2019 or newer, you can use a tax preparation program.

#5 Pay the taxes you owe immediately

If after completing the amended return you notice that your tax bill has increased, it is important that you pay the remaining taxes as soon as possible.

If you file online, you can pay taxes electronically to save time. If you file the tax amendment by mail, you will also need to mail the payment.

Could you pay later? Really yes, but you would risk that the IRS will fine you or charge you late payment interest. In any case, we invite you to consult the instructions to complete the IRS Form 1040X. There you will find all the payment methods allowed.

Frequent questions

When to file a tax amendment?

You don’t necessarily have to fill out a Form 1040X every time there is an error on your tax return. Remember that the IRS can correct some errors on its own. In this case, the tax agency will send you a communication with the error and inform you of the change.

However, you should know that the IRS only corrects math errors. In case of serious errors, it is up to the taxpayer to correct them in time.

Yes indeed: make sure the IRS has already processed your original return before making a tax amendment. Otherwise, the tax agency could confuse all the information you send them; which would lead to unnecessary delays (particularly in your refund).

What is IRS Form 1040x?

IRS Form 1040X is the form reserved by the Internal Revenue Service for filing an amended return, in English, Amended US Individual Income Tax Return. You can download this form on the IRS website (, fill it out and print it to send it by mail or, if your amended return is from 2019 onwards, file it online.

Before submitting the form, you should make sure you have marked the year of the return you are amending. Once this form enters the IRS database, it will replace your original tax return..

What tax errors does the IRS correct?

If you discover a math error after you’ve filed your tax return, you don’t necessarily need to amend it. The IRS automatically corrects all math, accounting, or clerical errors on taxpayer returns.

If you forgot to attach a form or any proof, you also do not have to file an amended return. The IRS will contact you to ask you to submit the missing documents.

What is a “serious error” on the tax return?

The best way to know if you have to complete a Form 1040X to correct your taxes is to determine how serious the error is. The IRS will not automatically correct your return if:

  • You miscalculated your annual income base.
  • You made a mistake in the number of dependents to claim.
  • You did not claim the tax deductions and credits that, by law, you could claim.
  • You filled in the marital status box incorrectly, that is, you declared yourself single or widowed, for example, when -in reality- you are married.

The most common error of taxpayers has to do with taxable income and, sometimes, it is not even attributable to them. You could, for example, receive an amended Form W-2 from your employer or a delayed Form 1099 that would radically change your taxable income.

In cases like these, we recommend that you file an amended return immediately. In this way, you will avoid penalties or interest charges by the IRS.

Keep reading: IRS Credit Tables

In what other scenarios can I file an amended return?

Applicable law allows victims of natural disasters to file an amended return. What benefit would this have? Well, what You can claim a special deduction for the economic losses that the hurricane, earthquake, fire or any other natural disaster has left you.

If you prefer, you can also make the claim when it is your turn to declare the current year (the year following the event). Whatever you decide, keep in mind that:

  • The event must have been declared a natural disaster by the federal government. Otherwise, you will not be able to make the claim.
  • If you prefer to claim on your tax return for the immediately preceding tax year, you must file Form 1040X within 180 days of filing your original tax return.

What if I discover the error right after submitting my original return?

If it’s been a day or two since your original tax return, you won’t need to file a tax amendment. Instead, you can choose to file a replacement statement (also known as a substitute statement).

To do this, you must fill out a Form 1040 and send it in print. To avoid confusion, we recommend that you write the phrase “Replacement statement” at the top of all pages of the form.

Note: If the filing deadline – including extensions – has expired, you will not be able to file a replacement return. This procedure is only valid if the taxpayer submitted their original return before the filing deadline.

How long does the IRS take to process a tax amendment?

As usual, the IRS takes eight to twelve weeks to process an amended return. The good part is that the agency has an online tool very similar to the one taxpayers use to find out the status of their refund.

Of course: to be able to check the status of the tax amendment online you will have to wait for 3-4 weeks to pass from the date of submission. Otherwise, it may not be reflected in the system yet.

What if I can’t pay the tax difference right away?

If when you file your tax amendment you notice that you owe more than you thought and you cannot pay that remaining amount right away, we recommend requesting an installment agreement with the IRS. It is preferable to divide the debt between comfortable installments to be delinquent before the Internal Revenue Service. If this alternative does not convince you -and you have the option to pay online- you could use a credit card, preferably, with 0% APR to avoid paying interest.

Keep reading: