Amended Tax Return

amended tax return

You can almost feel the collective sigh of relief that Americans have as another tax deadline comes and goes each year. Although, that sigh will have to come later for those who have an amended tax return to prepare. Amended tax returns are filed when a taxpayer needs to change a previously filed tax return.

IRS spokesman, Eric Smith said it best when he told CNBC News, “We have an amended return for the same reason pencils have erasers,” he said. “We all make mistakes. It’s a mechanism to fix what’s wrong.”

Amended Tax Returns 101

That’s not to say that every mistake on a tax return calls for an amended return. In fact, math errors are routinely corrected by the IRS without our knowledge. We’ll discuss the reasons for which the IRS expects an amended return in more detail below.

Preparing an amended return is similar to filing an original return. First of all, collect the documents you need to prepare the amended return. These documents should also include the original return you filed for reference.

Taxpayers must file an amended return on paper, even if you e-filed your original return. There’s no e-file option for amended tax returns. Once the amended return is complete, include payment, if needed, and mail it to the IRS.

If you owe tax after the changes on your amended return, the IRS will assess penalties and interest. That’s because full payment was due on the tax deadline of the year for which you’re filing an amendment. In other words, that portion of your tax payment is late.

The IRS gives taxpayers three years from the original filing deadline or two years after the tax was paid, whichever is later, to file an amended tax return. Processing can take up to 16 weeks after it’s submitted.

The IRS offers an online portal that allows you to track its process. It shows updates after progressing through the stages of receiving, adjusting and completing the return.

Does an Amended Tax Return Trigger an Audit?

This is a great question and one that certainly gets asked often. If you ask a revenue agent this question, the answer is no. The IRS doesn’t systematically perform audits on amended returns.

While this answer may be somewhat optimistic, the reality is that many amended returns do trigger an audit. This is commonly due to amendments that result in eye-catching refunds.

As many as 90 percent of returns are prepared and filed electronically. Amended returns must be filed on paper, therefore requiring a revenue agent to review it.

Agents consequently tend to scrutinize amended returns with changes that create a significant refund. As a result, he or she may determine that the examination department within the IRS should begin the audit process.

Reasons for Filing an Amended Tax Return

While most math errors certainly don’t constitute preparing and filing an amended tax return, many other events do. The following examples call for preparing and filing an amended return in place of the original return.

  • To include new or corrected 1099s or W2s

An employer may deliver a 1099 or W2 after you’ve already prepared and filed your return for the year. It’s also possible that one needed to change something and then send an updated 1099 or W2. In addition to an employer, these may come from a financial institution or someone else with whom you’ve done business.

  • Overlooked deductions

Deductions are important to the amount of tax you’re liable for in a given year. You may discover a previously missed charitable contribution or a rule you weren’t familiar with that would allow a certain deduction. Taxpayers should file an amended tax return in these cases. If the IRS receives an amended return, then they’ll process a refund of the tax you paid before the amended return was filed.

The IRS adds, “You should amend your tax return if you need to correct your filing status, the number of dependents you claimed, or your total income. You should also amend your return to claim tax deductions or tax credits that you did not claim when you filed your original return.”

If you’re not sure whether you should prepare and file an amended return, you’re not alone. Give us a call at Tax Champions; we’ll be happy to shed some light on your options for you.

Filing an Amended Tax Return

The process of filing an amended tax return is often a simple one. The devil is in the details. Preparing a return can become complex, as tax code and rules often change from year to year.

Experts particularly suggest that tax preparers exercise caution when choosing which form to submit the amendment on. It’s also prudent to be mindful of the tax law that applied in the tax year for which you’re amending the return.

Use the original tax return that you filed for that year for reference. Then submit the amended return by mail.

Healthcare and the Amended Tax Return

There may be nothing more complex than income tax, except for healthcare.

Although some positive changes were made to our healthcare system recently, determining how much in subsidies you’re entitled to can be confusing.

In fact, the government even offers a tool to help determine what your tax credit should be. The tool can also be of assistance if you qualify for the affordability exemption. Report the information on the 1095-A form on your amended tax return.

As with all amended returns, make sure your original return has been accepted before submitting an amended return.

Let Tax Champions File Your Amended Tax Return

Tax Champions has been serving clients in need of tax resolution for over 35 years. We’ll use our knowledge and extensive experience to prepare your amended return accurately and completely. As we go through its preparation, we’ll also review your return for additional credits and deductions that you qualify for.

Not sure if you need help with an amended return? Give us a call toll-free at 800.518.8964 and we’ll happily review your case for free. There’s no obligation to hire our firm and you’ll certainly gain information to help you on your way.

If you’d prefer that we reach out to you, we’ll happily do so. Submit your contact information to us in the blue box on the right side of this page. One of our trusted tax experts will respond as soon as possible.

Chiefly, our aim is to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations. We work with the hope that you’ll always come to Tax Champions for your tax preparation and resolution needs. Take a look at our A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau to see for yourself. We have no complaints with the Better Business Bureau, Board of Accountancy, nor the IRS.

We’re available with a full staff year around to answer your questions and meet your needs. In addition to tax resolution services, we’re also prepared to provide businesses with other services, such as payroll and bookkeeping.

Reach out to us any time of the day or evening on all seven days of the week. We’re available to our clients 365 days a year. We certainly understand that tax stress doesn’t adhere to standard business hours. Call us today and sleep better tonight because your tax case is on the road to permanent resolution.


 [1] Amended Returns & Form 1040X. (2019, March 19). Retrieved from //www.irs.gov/faqs/irs-procedures/amended-returns-form-1040x

[2] Amended Returns & Form 1040X 3. (2019, March 8). Retrieved from //www.irs.gov/faqs/irs-procedures/amended-returns-form-1040x/amended-returns-form-1040x-3

[3] Health Coverage Tax Tool. (n.d.). Retrieved from //www.healthcare.gov/tax-tool/#/

[4] Health Insurance Care Tax Forms, Instructions & Tools. (n.d.). Retrieved from //www.healthcare.gov/tax-forms-and-tools/

[5] Kelligrant. (2015, April 27). What you should know about filing an amended tax return. Retrieved from //www.cnbc.com/2015/04/27/how-to-file-an-amended-tax-return.html

[6] Taxchampions | Better Business Bureau® Profile. (n.d.). Retrieved from //www.bbb.org/us/ca/ventura/profile/tax-consultant/taxchampions-1236-92012281

[7] Topic No. 308 Amended Returns. (2019, May 14). Retrieved from //www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc308

[8] Where's My Amended Return | Internal Revenue Service. (2019, May 28). Retrieved from //www.irs.gov/filing/wheres-my-amended-return

[9] Wood, R. W. (2015, May 06). Ten IRS Rules for Amending Your Tax Return. Retrieved from //www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2015/04/08/ten-irs-rules-for-amending-your-tax-return/#1cfdff271dd0

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Walter Wotman, CPA

Founder & Managing Partner

Walter Wotman's Tax Champions authored this helpful Guide to IRS Tax Resolution for American taxpayers. He is one of America's most experienced tax negotiators with over 35 years of experience helping thousands of clients settle difficult back tax issues.

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