This article was last updated on July 29
With the 2020 stimulus checks payment based on your 2018 or 2019 return for Americans who file a tax return, many eligible recipients have yet to receive their payment because their bank details, mailing address or income reported were incorrect. While the IRS does try and reach out to people who have not claimed their stimulus check or was returned to them, they are recommending to claim any missing payments (especially the $500 dependent stimulus) in their next tax return. However with another stimulus check likely in the works with the next stimulus package, many don’t want to wait till next year to get their stimulus check. The good news is you have time to go back and modify your return so that your next check will likely be paid to you on time. And the IRS just announced this summer that you can do this online via eForm 1040X (don’t file another 1040 standard return). This can already be done via Tax Filing software or via the IRS website for lower income filers.
Another reason you may want to amend your tax return is that down the road you notice that you forgot to claim one of the many stimulus credits or qualified deductions. You may think that this money is gone now that your return has been submitted but you would be wrong; since you can actually send an amended tax return and claim this extra cash. The IRS will process – free of charge – your amended return and then pay you back what you are due. On the flip side if you owe more than you paid with your original filing, then you should still file an amended return with the extra tax payments. Most likely you will also have to pay a fine or penalty as well – which will be lower the sooner you pay the extra taxes. Also it is better to fess up an pay early rather than face an IRS audit which will pick up these overdue tax payments
Amended Tax Return Refund Schedule Cycle
While the IRS promises to have regular return refunds processed within 21 days for nine out of ten tax payers, it does take quite a bit longer to receive a refund if you amended your tax return. Generally you will have to wait 8 to 12 weeks for the IRS to process amended returns since they prioritize regular returns. Also note that the standard”Where’s my refund” service from the IRS does not track amended tax return status’. You need to use the IRS tool, Where’s My Amended Return” instead. You can also access the tool via phone by calling 1-866-464-2050. Only call the IRS to follow up on delayed amended return refunds after 12 weeks. The number to call is 1-800-829-1040
Here are other key factors to keep in mind with amended tax return filings:
- What you can and cannot file an amended return for. You should file an amended return if you discover any of the following items were reported incorrectly: filing status, dependents, total income, deductions or credits. You usually do not need to file an amended return because you forgot to include tax forms such as W-2s or schedules. The IRS normally will send a separate request asking for those documents.
- Once you have submitted your federal income tax return, you can no longer change that return. (One exception: If your e-filed tax return is rejected, you can make changes before sending it in again) If you want to make changes after the original tax return has been filed, you must file an amended tax return using a special form called the 1040X – Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, entering the changes and explaining why you need to amend your original tax return. You don’t have to redo your entire return, either. Just show the necessary changes and adjust your tax liability accordingly
Deadlines to File the Amended return. You generally must file an amended return within three years of the date you filed the original return or within two years after the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. Be sure to enter the year of the return you are amending at the top of Form 1040X
You can use e-tax preparation software to amend your return. In fact, TurboTax walks you step-by-step through amending your federal income tax return. However you still need to file and mail the amended return using Form 1040X manually. The IRS isn’t set up to accept an amended returns electronically.
If you are amending more than one tax return, prepare a 1040X for each return and mail them in separate envelopes to the IRS office for the area in which you live. The 1040X instructions list the addresses for the campuses. If the changes involve another schedule or form, you must attach it to the 1040X
Amending your state tax return. First, fill out an amended federal income tax return, Form 1040X. Then, get the proper form from your state and fill it out. Like the IRS, your state uses a special form for an amended return. Many states also use the X suffix for the form number. For example, California uses Form 540X and Hawaii uses Form N-188X. Don’t forget to attach a copy of your amended federal return (Form 1040X) to your amended state return.
- If you owe additional taxes for a past tax year, you should still file. Form 1040X and pay the tax as soon as possible to limit interest and penalty charges. Interest is charged on any tax not paid by the due date of the original return, without regard to extensions.