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How to Correct Federal Tax Returns

Updated for Tax Year 2021 • August 2, 2022 02:21 PM


OVERVIEW

The IRS has a simple process in place that allows you to amend your tax return. Find out how to amend your tax return in this article on tax tips.


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Overview

You do your best to file a correct tax return. You gather all your W-2s, 1099s, receipts and other documents and navigate through all of the information to get the right data on the correct schedules and forms. Sometimes, however, new information arises after you file your tax return. Maybe you discovered a tax credit you didn't realize you qualified for, or missed a 1099 form because it came in late. Fortunately, the IRS has a simple process in place that allows you to amend your tax return.

Step 1: Gather all new tax documents

This includes any new 1099 or W-2 you receive if you under-reported your income. If you are claiming a new deduction or credit, any document that supports your eligibility to claim it such as a receipt will be helpful. It's also a good idea to have a copy of your original tax return available.

Step 2: Form 1040-X

Beginning with the 2019 tax years, amended federal returns are able to be electronically filed as long as you electronically filed the original return. If you filed your return with TurboTax, log into your account and select the tax return that you want to amend and follow the online instructions. For paper-filing amended returns, download a copy of IRS Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Income Tax Return. You can easily find it at the IRS website.

Step 3: Identify the error you wish to fix

If you are correcting an error on your original tax return, you will need a blank copy of that particular form from the same year. This will allow you to recalculate your tax and to see which numbers on the original tax return will change as a result of the amendment.

Step 4: Download and prepare new schedules and attachments

When you prepare an amended return, the IRS only wants you to update figures that change. It doesn't require you to complete an entire tax return. However, if any of the original schedules you filed will change because of your amendment, then those schedules must be prepared again and attached to your Form 1040-X. You can amend the necessary forms using TurboTax's prior-year returns function, or you can search through the IRS website for a particular form.

Step 5: Fill out Form 1040-X according to the instructions

Provide a clear explanation of your reasons for filing the Form 1040-X. If you are paper filing the return, attach all forms you are amending along with any new supporting documentation and mail them to the address provided for your location in the Form 1040 instructions. This will be the same IRS service center that processed your original income tax return. Include a payment for any additional tax due. If you don't include the payment, the IRS may assess interest and perhaps penalties on the unpaid balance.

Filing an amendment with TurboTax

If you originally filed your return with TurboTax, we can help streamline the steps outlined above. If you used TurboTax Online, simply log in to your account and select “Amend a return that was filed and accepted.” If you used our CD/download product, sign back into your return and select “Amend a filed return.”

Tips
• You must file a separate Form 1040-X for each tax return you are amending.

Heads up
• Amended returns can take more than three months for the IRS to process.

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