Made a Mistake? How to Amend an Online Tax Return

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated April 15, 2019

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Personal Finance
April 15, 2019

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

As the deadline for filing your tax approaches, it’s not surprising to make mistakes when filing an online tax return. But the good news is that you can make corrections to your online tax return. However, there are some important steps to take and factors to consider. Here’s what you need to know:

While filing an amended return is possible, it’s important to determine if it’s necessary. You won’t need to amend your online tax return for simple math miscalculations since the IRS makes these types of corrections. However, you should amend your return if you filed using the incorrect filing status or need to add or remove deductions and credits you may or may not have been entitled to receive. You should also file an amended return if you filed your online tax return with the wrong number of dependents or total income.

Using an online tax service to file your taxes will usually result in fewer errors, since the program performs the calculations for you. We have compiled the best online tax services here. But even an online tax service can’t prevent 100% of human error, such as leaving important information off your tax return.

Before you make corrections to your online tax return, it’s important to review the process for filing it correctly. Here are some important steps to take:

  • Use paper form 1040X. Make sure you use Form 1040X to make all your changes. Show the year you’re amending by checking the appropriate box at the top of the form. Provide an explanation for the changes you are making, too.
  • Include supporting documents. Include the appropriate documents to support your claim. For instance, you can provide a copy of your unemployment compensation tax form (Form 1099-G) if you did not include it in your total income on your original online tax return.
  • Mail your paper form. Mail the paper form to the right address. The IRS lists the appropriate addresses for mailing your form in its Instructions for Form 1040X document. The mailing address is based on your address.
While you can correct your online tax return, there are some important aspects to keep in mind, including:
  • Statute of Limitations. You only can amend tax returns up to three years ago if you expect a refund from the amended return.
  • Mail Delivery Requirement. As of 2019, the IRS does not accept amended tax returns online, even if you filed an online tax return. So, you can’t send form 1040 X electronically. Instead, it’s necessary to mail the form.
  • Scrutiny. You can expect the IRS to review your amended form thoroughly. But it doesn’t necessarily trigger an audit. As long as you provide a sufficient and clear explanation for the return and provide supporting documents, you don’t have to worry about having issues with correcting your return.

Even if you’ve made a mistake on your online tax return, you have the opportunity to fix it by filing an amended return. Just ensure you consider the necessity of the correction you make, mail in the amended tax return and follow the rules to make amending your online tax return a smooth process.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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