Did you make a mistake on your income tax return? Don’t sweat it – it happens. Whether you forgot about a tax deduction or credit or you need to include additional sources of income, you can fix those errors by filing an amended tax return. You’ll do this by completing IRS Form 1040X. A financial advisor can also help you avoid mistakes and optimize your tax strategy for your financial goals. Here’s our guide to understanding and filling out the form.
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What Is IRS Form 1040X?
IRS Form 1040X is the Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return form. It’s what taxpayers use when they need to make changes to a personal income tax return they’ve already filed. Specifically, you can use it to make corrections to IRS Forms 1040, 1040A, 1040NR and 1040NR-EZ.
If you need to make adjustments to your tax return, you don’t have to completely start over. Within Form 1040X, you’ll only have to update the numbers and details that need to be changed. Once you file it, Form 1040X becomes your new tax return.
Estimate your federal income tax return with our free tax return calculator.
Deadlines for Filing Form 1040X
Taxpayers have up to three years to file an amended tax return (or up to two years after paying any taxes they owe). If you file your taxes early – like in February or March – you’ll have up to three years after the usual April filing deadline to submit Form 1040X (which has been extended to May 17, 2021 for tax year 2020). But if you file for an extension, your deadline will be three years from the date you file your tax return.
Deadlines for filing an amended tax return might change under certain circumstances. For example, the IRS might give you more time to file Form 1040X if you have a physical or mental disability. Or, if you had losses from a natural disaster like a fire or a hurricane in 2021, you would have until Oct. 17, 2022, to file an amended return.
How to Fill out Form 1040X
You’ll need to pull out a copy of your original tax return when you’re ready to fill out your amended return. You can make changes in the margins of your old tax return before completing Form 1040X. It might also be helpful to have access to the instructions for the form. You can find that online. In order to change some of the information you included on your original tax return, you may need to have additional documents in front of you. For instance, you may need your W-2 form if you’re changing your adjusted gross income or you want to know how much federal income tax was withheld from your paychecks.
You might also need to attach other forms to Form 1040X. For example, maybe you originally took the standard deduction but you want to try and reduce your tax liability by itemizing your deductions. Since you’re itemizing, you’ll need to submit a copy of Schedule A along with your amended tax return.
It’s a good idea to take your time while you’re filling out Form 1040X. That way you won’t make any additional mistakes. And don’t forget to double check that you’ve claimed all the deductions and tax credits that you qualify for.
Not everyone’s tax situation is the same. If you need help completing your amended tax return, you can always reach out to a tax professional. You can also contact the IRS directly. If you need to chat with someone from the IRS face to face, you can visit a local taxpayer assistance center.
Expecting a tax refund? The IRS usually reviews amendments to tax returns within eight to 12 weeks. So your refund should arrive at some point after that.
Tax Planning Tips
- Consider working with a financial advisor to optimize a tax strategy for your financial goals. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors in your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Avoid a last-minute marathon session to meet your tax filing deadline by breaking everything down into smaller steps. Set a deadline for when you’ll have your W-2 forms, 1099 forms, investment income information, last year’s tax refund, student loan interest and the rest of the items listed on the IRS Tax Form checklist.
- Educate yourself as soon as possible about what you can and cannot deduct from your taxes. Keeping updated will help you maximize your tax return.
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