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Top 10 Tax Tips about Filing an Amended Tax Return

posted Aug 31, 2015, 11:30 PM by Zaher Fallahi

If you discover that you may have made a mistake in your tax returns, you may need to amend the return to correct the error.  Here are ten tips from the IRS if you need to amend your federal tax return.

1-       When to amend.  You should amend your tax return if you need to correct your filing status, the number of dependents you claimed, your total income, to claim tax deductions or tax credits that you did not claim when you filed your original tax return. The instructions for  Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, list additional reasons to amend your tax return. Note: If, as allowed by recent legislation, you plan to amend your tax year 2014 return to retroactively claim the Health Coverage Tax Credit, see IRS.Gov/HCTC   for more information.

2-       When NOT to amend.  In some cases, the IRS usually corrects math errors when processing your original return. If you didn’t include a required form or schedule, the IRS will send you a notice through U.S. mail about the missing item. 

3-      Form 1040X.  You should use Form 1040X to amend a previously filed federal income tax return Make sure you check the box at the top of the form that shows which year you are amending. Since you can’t e-file an amended return, you’ll need to file your Form 1040X on paper and mail it to the IRS. Form 1040X has three columns. Column A shows amounts from the original tax return. Column B shows the net increase or decrease in your income or expense you intend to change. Column C shows the corrected amounts. On the second page of 1040X, you should explain the reasons for the changes.

4-       More than one year.  If you file an amended return for more than one year, you should use a separate 1040X for each year. Always mail them in separate envelopes to the IRS to avoid potential problem in processing.

5-      Other forms or schedules.  If you change other tax forms or schedules, make sure you enclose the missing forms to Form 1040X. Otherwise, this will cause a delay in processing.

6-      Amending to claim an additional refund.  If you are waiting for a refund from your original tax return, don’t file your amended return before receiving your original refund.  Amended returns take up to 16 weeks to process.

7-      Amending to pay additional tax.  If amend your tax return because you owe more tax, you should file Form 1040X and pay the tax as soon as possible. This will limit interest and late payment penalties.

8-      Corrected Forms 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement.  If you or someone on your tax return enrolled in qualifying health care coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you should have received the Form 1095-A before filing your original return. You may have also received a corrected Form 1095-A. If you filed your tax return based on the original Form 1095-A, you do not need to file an amended return based on a corrected Form 1095-A.  This is true even if you would owe additional taxes based on the new information. In some cases, the information on the new Form 1095-A may lower the amount of taxes you owe or increase your refund.  You may also want to file an amended return if:  You filed and incorrectly claimed a premium tax credit, or  you filed an income tax return and did not contain the Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit, to reconcile your advance payments of the insurance premium tax credit. Before amending your return, if you received a letter regarding your premium tax credit or Form 8962 you should follow the instructions in the enclosed letter. 

9-      When to file.  To can file Form 1040X to claim a refund for no more than three years from the date you filed your original tax return. You can also file it no more than two years from the date you paid the tax, if that date is later than the three-year rule.

10-   Track your return.  You can track the status of your amended tax return three weeks after you file with “Where’s My Amended Return?” This tool is available on or by phone at 866-464-2050.


Zaher Fallahi, CPA, is a California dental CPA, and has focused on serving dentists and physicians with their tax and accounting since 1992. The firm handles Offer-In-Compromise, non-filed tax cases and foreign bank accounts (FBAR, FATCA, OVDP).  Telephones: (310) 719-1040 (Los Angeles), (714) 546-4272 (Orange County), e-mail: