Amending Your Tax Return Just Got Easier

The IRS is now accepting electronically filed amended tax returns.

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Fixing errors on your tax return will be less of a hassle going forward. For the first time, taxpayers are now able to file Form 1040X, the document used to amend tax returns, electronically with commercial tax-filing software.

Taxpayers amend their federal tax returns for all kinds of reasons—for failing to report some income, for example, or because of an overlooked deduction that would have lowered their tax bill. But in the past, you had to submit the form by mail. You could use tax software to fill out the form but had to print it out and mail it in.

"E-filing has been one of the great success stories of the IRS, and more than 90% of taxpayers use it routinely," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement. "But the big hurdle that's been remaining for years is to convert amended returns into this electronic process."

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While taxpayers generally have up to three years from the date they filed their original return (or two years from the date they paid any tax due) to amend a return, e-filing will initially be limited to 2019 tax returns, the IRS says. If you want to amend an earlier return on Form 1040X, you'll still have to print it out and mail it in.

Sandra Block
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Block joined Kiplinger in June 2012 from USA Today, where she was a reporter and personal finance columnist for more than 15 years. Prior to that, she worked for the Akron Beacon-Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. In 1993, she was a Knight-Bagehot fellow in economics and business journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has a BA in communications from Bethany College in Bethany, W.Va.