Track Status of Your Amended Return

When you discover an error on your federal income tax return or realize important information was omitted, you can file an amended return to correct the mistake. But what happens after that?

If it’s been a while since you filed your Form 1040X and you haven’t heard from the IRS, you may find yourself wondering, “Where’s my amended tax return?” You may be especially eager to know the status of your amended return if correcting the error could mean you’ll be getting money back.

Let’s look at how you can track your amended tax return after you’ve filed it with the IRS.

Should I fix my tax return?

First, if you suspect there’s a mistake on your tax return and you haven’t yet filed an amended tax return to correct it, it may be worth your time to do so. Tax-return errors can be costly.

A mistake on your tax return might mean you underestimated — and therefore underpaid — the amount you owe, which could potentially lead to the IRS applying interest and penalties to your unpaid balance. Or it might mean you didn’t correctly calculate the refund amount you think you’re owed. It could be less, but it could also be more. And you should also consider how amending your federal return might affect any state taxes you filed, and contact that state taxing agency to find out how to file an amendment with them if necessary.

Don’t wait to file an amended return if you need to submit one. You generally  have to file an amendment within three years of when the original tax return was due (including extensions), or if you paid tax, within two years after the date you paid, whichever is later. If you file after the time limit, the IRS might not honor your amended return, and you could miss out on any refund that was owed to you.

Where’s my amended tax return?

Generally, you can track your amended tax return in two ways.

  1. Online Even though you had to paper file and snail mail your Form 1040X, you can check its status online using the IRS Where’s My Amended Return tool. Enter your information and the tool will give you the status of your amended tax return.
  2. By phone — You should try the online tool first, but if you have any issues checking the status of your amended tax return online — or if the tool instructs you to call instead — you can call the automated IRS line at 1-866-464-2050. But the IRS notes that phone representatives (as well as those at IRS locations) can’t research the status of your amended return until 16 weeks after you’ve mailed it, or if the online tool has instructed you to call the IRS.

But some types of amended returns can’t be tracked through the Where’s My Amended Return tool. For example, the tool can’t track a Form 1040 that’s been marked as amended or corrected, business amended tax returns or amended returns with a foreign address.

When should I start checking the status of my amended tax return?

When the IRS has to deal with a mailed form, things can slow down.

It can take up to three weeks for an amended return to show up in the IRS system, so it’s probably best to wait at least that long before you start checking. But once your amended return shows in the system, you can check its status daily if you want, because the tool updates every day.

What do the statuses mean?

Your amendment can be in one of three stages.

  1. Received: The IRS has received your amended return and is processing it.
  2. Adjusted: The IRS has made a change to your account that could result in a refund, balance due or no change in your tax obligation.
  3. Completed: The IRS is done processing your amended return and has mailed you all of the information connected to its processing.

How long will it take to process my amended tax return?

Processing an amended tax return takes time — and sometimes a lot of it.

The IRS says processing an amended return can take up to 16 weeks. And certain situations may require more review, making the processing time even longer. Here are some reasons for delays.

  • Errors on the amended return
  • The amended return was not completed
  • You forgot to sign the return
  • The IRS sends the amended return back to you with a request for more information
  • You or your spouse sought injured spouse relief
  • Possible identity theft or fraud
  • The amended return needs to be routed to a specialized area
  • The IRS bankruptcy team needs to review the amended return
  • A revenue office needs to review and approve the amended return
  • You have an appeal or request for reconsideration pending IRS review and decision

Where’s my refund?

Processing an amended return can take more time than processing an original return. This also applies to getting a refund if your amended return results in one.

The IRS can’t deposit a refund from an amended return directly into your bank account. Instead, it’ll mail you a paper check.

But there’s good news, too. When you file your Form 1040 and get a refund, the government is returning money that you overpaid in federal income tax during the tax year — and the government typically doesn’t pay interest on that money. But when you’re due a refund because of an amended return, the IRS does pay interest — generally from the due date of the original return or the date you filed it, whichever is later.

Bottom line

Tracking your amended tax return can be easy once you know the process, but you’ll need to be patient. A lot of the amended return process happens via paper, from the form you submit to any refund check you’re owed.

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