How to Amend a 1040
by Susan Dean
Have you discovered an error after filing your personal income tax return? Did you forget to report income or claim deductions? Have you received a “corrected” tax reporting document such as a Corrected Form 1099? What should you do if you fall into one of these categories? Depending on the circumstances, you may need to amend your tax return.
To amend your Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, you should file a Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. Form 1040X will become your new tax return, changing your original return to include any new information.
Page one of Form 1040X is a summary of your 1040 information, both as previously filed and what you are currently reporting. Column A reports the “Original amount” as reported on a prior Form 1040 (or prior 1040X). This is the amount(s) you are updating or “amending.” Column C reports the “Corrected amount” or the amount that should have been reported on the original return, the amount you are updating. That leaves Column B. Column B shows the “Net change” between Column A and Column C. Column B reports the difference in what was reported (Column A) and what should have been reported (Column C). Form 1040X gives a visual comparison of your 1040, both before and after the change(s). The form shows the increase or decrease to your taxable income and/or tax liability.
When filing an amended tax return, you must explain the reason for the amendment. This explanation is reported on Part III, Explanation of changes. In this section you should communicate to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) why you are filing Form 1040X. The reason can vary from receiving a late or corrected Form 1099; forgetting to claim a deductible charitable contribution or business expense; reporting additional taxable income; or changing the originally filed filing status. No matter the reason, the IRS wants to know why you are amending and what form(s) and line numbers have changed as well as any supporting schedules that have been affected by the change(s).
Once you have completed Form 1040X by reporting the corrected information, explained the reason for the change(s) and attached any necessary forms and/or schedules, you are ready to sign and file your amended return. Depending on the change in your overall taxable income and/or tax liability, you may owe additional tax to the IRS or you could be due a tax refund. The state you live in and the outcome of your tax liability determines where you file your amended return. Before mailing your amended return, please confirm the correct address in the current year Form 1040X instructions.
Please note if you are amending your federal income tax return, you also may need to amend your state income tax return. Refer to your state income tax return form instructions on when and how to amend your state income tax return or contact your personal certified public accountant.
For more information on amending your Form 1040, please refer to the IRS website and their section on Amended Tax Return Frequently Asked Questions. If you think you may need to amend your personal income tax return and would like further advice on amending or would like to request assistance in amending your personal tax return, please contact our office.
Susan ([email protected]) is a Tax Manager working primarily with closely-held family businesses and corporations.