April 28, 2022 | Posted in:

What If I Made A Mistake on My Tax Return?

Another tax season has come to an end. But what if you just caught a mistake on your tax return and need to amend it? This is not uncommon. In fact, here are some Frequently Asked Questions from taxpayers who need to make amendments to their tax return.


FAQs: Amending a Tax Return


What if I made a mistake on my tax return?

First, don’t panic! Realizing an error was made on a filed tax return is very common. If the due date for filing your tax return has passed, you can submit an amended tax return to correct most mistakes.


How can I fix a mistake on my tax return?

You can correct a mistake on your tax return by submitting an amended tax return, Form 1040-X. The process used to only be only in hard copy form, sent by mail to the IRS. As of summer 2020, the IRS now accepts some Form 1040-X amended returns submitted electronically.


How do I know if I made a mistake on my tax return?

You should amend your return if you need to make changes to your reported income, filing status, deductions, or credits only. Let’s say you did some part-time work on the weekends last summer and forgot to include that income on your 2021 return. Or maybe you just realized that you’re eligible for the American Opportunity tax credit based on college courses you took last year. These are examples that should trigger the filing of an amended return and may affect the amount of your refund or balance owed to the IRS.


Does the IRS correct mistakes or penalize taxpayers for tax return errors?

Straight from the IRS, you don’t have to amend a return because of math errors you made; the IRS will correct those. You also usually won’t have to file an amended return because you forgot to include forms, such as W-2s or schedules, when you filed — the IRS will normally request those forms from you. However, be vigilant of IRS phishing scams. Keep in mind that the IRS will never call or text taxpayers demanding payment.

Taxpayers who will owe tax should file Form 1040X and pay the tax immediately to avoid potential penalties and interest on the unpaid taxes.

When should I amend my tax return?

You generally must file an amended return within three years of the date you filed the original return or within two years after the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.


Do I also need to amend my state tax return?

It is possible that a change made to your federal tax return may affect your state tax liability. Turn to your state tax agency for details and information on how to correct your state return.


Can I track my amended return?

Generally, taxpayers can track the status of their amended tax return three weeks after they file, using Where’s My Amended Return? on


For more information on amending your tax return, check out “Tips on Amending Your Tax Return featured on NerdWallet” for insight from Associate Partner Kim Sheehan, CPA/PFS.


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