The Internal Revenue Service has been working towards one of their long-time goals and it will ultimately become a realism in the late summer of 2020. Recently it was announced that beginning this summer, the Internal Revenue Service will start accepting 2019 amended returns, Form 1040x, via e-file. This proposal was propelled along when the Coronavirus struck the United States. Shortly following, the pandemic took a turn for the worst, the Internal Revenue Service had to close their doors for a few months. The quantity of mailed in returns and amended returns have astonished the whole office.

E-filing has already been available as a preference to taxpayers when filing their Form 1040, Individual Income Tax returns. Nevertheless, it will be the first time ever that a taxpayer will be able to file an amended return electronically. This innovative electronic choice for taxpayers will allow the Internal Revenue Service to receive and oversee amended returns efficiently. As we all know, the waiting time for an amended return to be administered can be crucial!  From our experience, there have been taxpayers who did not receive a determination on an amended return until six months or more has lapsed. Keep in mind that the Internal Revenue Service receives roughly 3 million Form 1040x, Amended Returns, yearly.

Permitting the amended returns to be filed electronically will also minimize inaccuracies normally related to when a taxpayer is filing the form on paper. Mathematic errors are common and can be overlooked when using the typical paper method of filing. This new adjustment will largely impact the tax professional workers and all taxpayers themselves. This transformation will make filing and tracking amended returns much more efficient and informative. Once the option becomes available, only the 2019 Tax Year Forms 1040 and 1040-SR amendments will be approved to be filed electronically. All prior year amended tax returns will have to be completed the good old-fashioned way, with pen and paper. You will still be required to mail these forms to the Internal Revenue Service’s appropriate unit in which your area is assigned to. The instructions for Form 1040X can be found along with the form on the Internal Revenue Service’s website.

Most taxpayers are required to file a Form 1040, Individual Income Tax Return. This is considered your original return. Once you file an original return you have up to three years after the date of filing to submit an amended return. When you recognize you may have missed a line item on your return or need to correct your income or filing status, an amended return should be filed. It is very common for the Form 1040x to be used to claim tax credits that were previously omitted on the original return. As of today, when you mail an amended return to the Internal Revenue Service, it can take approximately three weeks for it to be indicating received in their system. Once it is completely in the system, records show up to 16 weeks is necessary to process the paper return. With the upcoming introduction of accepting amended returns electronically the processing delay time that you are originally used to will be diminished. The Internal Revenue Service will also implement the ability to present a refund from an amended return directly into a taxpayer’s bank account. This is an improvement from having to wait weeks or even months to receive a refund check. The wait time for the refund check is supported by the extensive wait time for the amended return to be processed in the first place.

Whether a taxpayer decides to file an amended return manually or electronically, there is an online tool that will facilitate with confirming the status of amended returns. The tool is called Where’s My Amended Return? and it can be obtained directly on the IRS.gov website. When using the tool to track the status of your Form 1040x, Amended Return, make sure to have your taxpayer identification number, date of birth and zip code information readily available. All this information will have to be entered correctly to get accurate information from the Internal Revenue Service pertaining to the status of amended returns. When using the Where’s My Amended Return? Tool through the Internal Revenue Service, you can check the status of this years amended return and up to three prior years. If you are pursuing the possibility of filing an amended return it would be best to obtain the advice of an expert tax advisor. Amended returns are much more complicated than filing an original return. You only have one opportunity to revise your return and you want to make sure that you have a team of professionals on your side to help utilize all credits and deductions that you will qualify for.

Tax topics related to the specific date of when the availability to file amended returns electronically is still being talked about. The Internal Revenue Service has yet to announce an opening date. With the coronavirus and social distancing rules being put into place it should be safe to say that it will happen sooner rather than later. The original tax filing deadline has been extended this season to July 15, 2020. This date is approaching quickly and there will be a substantial necessity for amended returns to be filed shortly after.

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