Need to amend a past years tax return?

Have you recently realized that you made a mistake on a prior years tax return?  No need to worry, you can go ahead and file an amended return.  Usually the IRS will catch mistakes such as math errors or missing forms like W-2’s or 1099’s, but you should go ahead and file an amended return in the case of any of the following:

  • A change in filing status
  • A change in dependents
  • A change in total income
  • A change in deductions or credits

To amend a tax return you use for 1040X and fill in the appropriate year at the top of the form.  If you are amending more than one year, they must be done on separate forms.  You should indicate the changes in the columns on the 1040X and attached any forms or schedules that show the changes.

If you are filing to receive an additional refund, you should wait until after you have received the original refund before filing the amended return.  If you are filing an amended return that shows additional tax due, then send in the 1040X and additional payment as soon as possible to avoid penalties.

Generally you must file form 1040X within 3 years from the date you filed your original return or within two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later, in order to claim a refund.

If this all seems overwhelming, then you should consult your tax adivisor for help before filing your return.


About the author

Seattle CPA+John Huddleston has written extensively on tax related subjects of interest to small business owners. Since 2002, he has owned his own small business, Huddleston Tax CPAs. He is a graduate of Washington State University and the University of Washington School of Law.