Even if you’ve filed your own taxes year after year, fulfilling your fiscal duty as an American taxpayer doesn’t always get easier each April. The truth is, the stress of tax season can translate to mistakes on your tax return which could then cause you to miss out on a tax refund or have you owing money to the IRS when you shouldn’t have. Perhaps your income was calculated wrong, your filing status has changed, or maybe you’ve just made a simple mathematical error that threw your filing calculations out of sorts.
No matter where you went wrong or how your incorrect return impacted you, filing an amended tax return can resolve your dilemma.
If you landed on this article because you are looking for help with the IRS, or if you’re wondering “where’s my amended return?”, then rest easy knowing your return will likely be issued. Amended tax returns can take a while to process but it is the IRS’s responsibility to ensure they are.
To help restore some of your peace of mind, we’re going to address the following points in this article:
- Do I Need to File for an Amended Return?
- Where’s My Amended Return?
- Amended Tax Return Timeline
- Amended Tax Return Status
- How to File an Amended Tax Return
- When to File an Amended Tax Return
- I Have Not Received My Amended Tax Refund
- Amended Tax Return Tips & Facts
Click on the links above to skip ahead, or read end to end for a comprehensive overview of amended tax returns.
Do I Need to File for an Amended Return?
If you discovered an error on your tax return but haven’t filed an amended return just yet, you’ll want to figure out if your situation requires to do so. According to the IRS, certain mistakes like mathematical errors, may not call for an amended return because those are typically rectified when your original return is being processed. An error on your filing status, however, would require you to file an amended tax return.
If you need to make a change to your:
- Filing status
The IRS recommends filing an amended return in order to correct the error. We’ll discuss how to file an amended return a little later on in this post.
Where’s My Amended Return?
Let’s say you’ve already filed your amended return, but you’re left wondering “where’s my amended return?” because you haven’t heard anything back from the IRS, nor have you received your corrected tax refund or balance.
Before we discuss how you can check the status of your amended tax return, let’s take a look at the IRS’ amended tax return timeline to help you figure out if your return is taking abnormally long or just in the midst of being processed.
Amended Tax Return Timeline
Once filed, the amended tax return timeline goes as follows:
- Up to 3 weeks for the amended return to populate in the IRS’s system
- Up to 16 weeks for the return to be issued or the payment process=ed
If your case exceeds this timeline, you’ll likely need to check the status of your amended return.
Amended Tax Return Status
If you’re anxiously wondering, “where’s my amended return?”, you’ll be relieved to know that checking the status of your return is actually quite simple. Here’s how to check the status of your amended return.
In order to check the status of your amended return, you will need your:
- Social Security Number or your Individual Tax ID Number
- Date of birth
- Zip Code
Once you have the above information handy, head to the IRS’ Where’s My Amended Return tool and follow the automated prompts. After you’ve filled in all of your information, you’ll be able to view the status of your amended return.
What do the different amended statuses mean?
There are a few different results you may get when you check the status of your return, including:
- Return received
- Return adjusted
- Return completed
But what do these mean for you? According to the IRS Frequently Asked Questions on Amended Returns page, here’s what each amended status indicates:
- If your amended return shows as received, the return has been received and is being processed. Once it’s been received, it can take up to 16 weeks to complete processing.
- If your amended return shows as adjusted, it means that an adjustment has been made to your original return and will result in a tax refund, balance due, or no change to your tax liability, depending on how the correction impacts your tax return.
- If your amended return shows as completed, the return has been completed and the IRS is mailing you follow-up information.
The IRS also notes that their Where’s My Amended Return database updates once per day, typically at night, so you can check the system daily to follow the status of your amended return.
How to File an Amended Tax Return
Filing an amended tax return is a straightforward process. The IRS recognizes that mistakes happen, providing an easy way to manage an inaccurate tax return; Form 1040x. A taxpayer uses , and it is broken into three sections.
In column A you must input the amounts you filed on the incorrect (original) tax return.
Column B is going to be the total change or difference, that occurs between the inaccurate tax return and the amended one. It is the value change between column A and column C.
Column C, as you can deduce, is the corrected return, up-to-date with the accurate figures that need to be reflected.
Outside of the Three Columns
Additionally, you will need to indicate the tax year you are amending. If there happen to be multiple, separate each into their own envelope. We encourage you to send the forms via certified mail.
If you owe the IRS money, then you must include a check or money order with your amended return. Note: do not attach it specifically to Form 1040X, simply place it within the appropriate envelope. If you wish to pay online, the ‘payment options’ section of the IRS’s website can assist you.
Lastly, with each separate amended tax return, you must include a copy of the tax return in question. This may also require you to provide evidence for the changes you are making, such as including a W-2 or 1099 that are responsible. These copies must be listed in the order of the ‘attachment sequence no.’ which is found on the backside of Form 1040X.
When to File an Amended Tax Return
As we mentioned above, you will want to file an amended tax return if your income, filing status, deductions, or credits listed on your original return were not accurate.
If you filed a tax return or even a tax extension, then you have three years from the latest date-of-file to obtain your refund or credit. If you paid the tax, then that window becomes two years. If you need to file an amended tax return, then we encourage that you either file or seek
I Have Not Received My Amended Tax Refund
Again, please allow 16 weeks to pass before worrying about your tax refund. The IRS states specifically that a refund can take this amount of time to process. With that being said, if you have not received your tax refund or credit within that timeframe and you have utilized their ‘Where’s My Amended Return’ tool to check on your amended return status, then call the IRS at 1-866-464-2050 to inquire about your case.
Amended Tax Return Tips & Facts
As with any tax filing, there is going to be the right way to do it, the wrong way to do it, and the information that differentiates the two. To stay in good standing with the IRS, keep the following tips in mind when dealing with amended tax returns.
You Don’t Always Have to File
Some tax return mistakes do not need to be amended. A common one is a math mistake, especially if it is minor, as the IRS will correct it on their end and notify you if a correction was made.
Don’t Forget to Explain
Part III of Form 1040X requires you to explain, with your own words, what went wrong in your original tax return. Exercising is brevity is recommended but withholding information is not. Be concise and honest. They want to understand why this amendment is occurring.
State Tax Form, Also A Problem?
After you have sent in Form 1040X, ensure that your state taxes do not also need to be amended. Sometimes, the root of the problem affects both tax filings.
While conclusive evidence that amended tax forms trigger audits does not exist, tax professionals tend to recognize a relationship between the two. Be aware that, especially if you are asking for a large return, the IRS may investigate your case.
Do not wait before filing an amended tax return—particularly if you are positive the original is inaccurate. Follow the process with meticulousness and allow 16 weeks after your submission to pass. If by then your amended tax returns have not been processed, reach out to the IRS, or seek the help of a tax professional.