Amending a Tax Return

Alert: To protect the public and employees, and in compliance with orders of local health authorities around the country, certain IRS services such as live assistance on telephones, processing paper tax returns and responding to correspondence are extremely limited or suspended until further notice. Get up-to-date status on affected IRS operations and services.

Due to COVID-19 return processing timeframes may be longer. Check for updated timeframes.

If you file your individual tax return and then, after the filing deadline has passed, you realize you made a mistake, you can change your tax return. Usually this involves filing IRS Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to report changes to your income, deductions or credits. You may also be able to make certain changes to your filing status. 

If the IRS finds mistakes like a math error or missing schedule before you do, you'll get an IRS notice. The notice will tell you about the error and what information (if any) you need to submit to the IRS to correct it. See Incorrect Tax Return for more information. When the IRS sends you a notice about errors, there are usually other ways to correct errors besides an amended tax return.

If all you need to correct is your address, there are several ways to change your address.

Before filing an amended tax return

Before you file an amended tax return: 

  • Verify that the information the IRS has on file for you matches the tax year information you're amending.

    Gather your documents such as a copy of the return you are amending, all IRS Forms W-2 or W-2C, IRS Forms 1099 or 1099C, etc. that support the changes you wish to make. Be sure to keep copies for your records.

    • Review and follow all the IRS Form 1040-X Instructions before submitting your amended tax return. Be sure to read the “Special Situations” section for instances that have special conditions or rules you need to follow.

    Filing an amended tax return

    You can now file Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, electronically to amend 2019 Forms 1040 and 1040-SR using participating tax software products. To do so, you must have e-filed your original 2019 return. You can only amend tax year 2019 Forms 1040 and 1040-SR returns electronically at this time. See Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, Frequently Asked Questions for more information. You still have the option to submit a paper version of the Form 1040-X and should follow the instructions for preparing and submitting the paper form.

    To file your paper amended tax return:

    • Use an IRS Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. 
    • Attach copies of all forms and schedules that you’re changing.
    • Mail all documents using the “Where to File” information in the IRS Form 1040-X Instructions.  Generally, unless there’s a special situation or you’re submitting your form in response to an IRS notice, send it to the same IRS address where you filed your original return.
    • If you owe a balance, make a payment with the amended tax return, if possible.  If you can't make partial or full payment, there may be other options.

    NOTE: If you’re changing your tax returns for multiple tax years, mail an IRS Form 1040-X for each year separately.

    Your state tax amount may be affected by changes on your federal tax return. For information on how to correct your state tax return, contact your state tax agency

    The processing time for an IRS Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, whether you file electronically or on paper is up to 16 weeks. If you owe a balance from the changes on your amended tax return, you may be liable for interest and penalties.

    If you’re due a refund based on the changes you’re making, you generally MUST file the amended return within three years from the date you filed your original return, or within two years after the date you paid the tax, whichever is later, to get a refund.

    The IRS won't process your amended tax return if:

    • You don't attach all the forms and schedules you're changing.
    • The amounts on your amended tax return don't match the IRS's records from your original return.
      • Pay special attention to Column A of IRS Form 1040-X: adjusted gross income, taxable income, and tax.  This is where most errors occur. 

    The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act prevents you from filing past due returns or amended returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Child Tax Credit/Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), or American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) if the reason you're filing is because you now have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) required for each credit but such TIN wasn't issued on or before the due date of the return (including a valid extension).

    If you aren’t sure what was on your original tax return, get a transcript. If you receive a notice that the IRS needs more information to process your amended tax return, send that information to the address on the notice within the time given to help speed up the processing.

    Check the status of your amended tax return

    Tax Topic 308, Amended Returns  

    Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return

    Form 1040-X Instructions, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return

    Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, Frequently Asked Questions

    Some VITA or TCE sites complete amended returns and may be able to help you for free if you qualify

    You can check the status of your IRS Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return using the "Where's My Amended Return?" online tool or the toll-free telephone number (866) 464-2050 three weeks after you file your amended tax return. Both methods are available in English and Spanish and track the status of amended tax returns for the current year and up to three prior years.

    If you have more questions about a missing refund, visit “I don't have my refund.” 

    Browse common tax issues and situations at Get Help.

    If your IRS problem is causing you financial hardship, you've tried repeatedly and aren't receiving a response from the IRS, or you feel your taxpayer rights aren't being respected, consider contacting Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS).

    You may be eligible for representation from an attorney, certified public accountant (CPA), or enrolled agent (EA) associated with a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC). LITCs also provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language.

    Last modified August 26, 2020