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When to File an Amended Tax Return

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Christian Brim
When to File an Amended Tax Return

You filed your return, and you forgot something, or you realize the return was wrong.  How do you fix?

You file an Amended Tax Return, that's how!  So when do you file an amended tax return?


There is no deadline during the year to file.  Generally you can electronically file your amended return anytime, but there is a time limit.  This applies to both business and individual returns.

Individuals use form 1040X to amend their return.  You have three years from the date of originally filed return, including timely filed extensions.  So if you filed your 2020 tax return on April 15th, 2021, you have until April 15th, 2024 to file.  

A couple of things you CAN'T fix by filing form 1040x.  You cannot change your filing status from a joint return to married filing separate after you've filed your original return.  Additionally, you cannot change your method of accounting once you've filed an original return.

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Businesses file the same form as the original return (e.g. 1120S), and simply mark the box "amended".  The same 3 year time frame applies for business returns as individuals.

Tentative Refunds

Amended returns take time for the IRS to process, even if filed electronically.  Most amended returns have a human involved in the review process.  If you are due a refund on your amended return, you can speed up the process by filing Form 1045.  You still have to file the 1040X, unless you are only claiming a refund from a Net Operating Loss or unused general business credits.  If that is your situation, you only have to file form 1045.

Don't Forget the State

If you live in a state with individual income taxes, you will have to file an amended state return as well.  If you don't, you will most likely receive a nasty-o-gram from the state.  The IRS share their information with the state, so they will be looking!

If you think your return is inaccurate, let us review it for you and see if you should file an amended return.  


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