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How To Amend a Tax Return

Whether you missed a deduction or forgot to claim income, the IRS has a way for you to make changes.


  • Step 1: Determine the year Determine when you made the error on your taxes. File an amended return that will give you a refund within three years. If you owe, file within one year to avoid penalties.
  • Step 2: Get Form 1040X and additional documentation Get the most recent version of Form 1040X from Gather any additional documentation to support your changes, like receipts and W-2 forms.
  • TIP: Check with your state tax agency for their rules and forms for amending a state return.
  • Step 3: Complete Form 1040X Complete the 1040X, including information from your original tax return and an explanation for each change you are making.
  • TIP: Plan ahead. The IRS estimates that it will take most people three and a half hours to complete the paperwork for amending a return.
  • Step 4: Attach supporting documentation Attach any supporting documentation you have to the 1040X form. Write your name and social security number on the top of each attachment.
  • Step 5: Mail materials to the IRS Mail all of your documents to your IRS regional service center, including a check if you owe additional taxes.
  • Step 6: Wait 8 - 12 weeks for processing Wait eight to 12 weeks for the IRS to process your amended return and send you any refund you are due.
  • FACT: Did you know? In 1862, President Lincoln and Congress created the first United States income tax to help pay for expenses during the Civil War.

You Will Need

  • A computer with internet access
  • An IRS Form 1040X
  • Receipts
  • Your W-2 form
  • A copy of your tax return
  • Explanation

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