Filing form 1040X may get you your refund, but don’t expect a fast turnaround.

Question: The IRS said I owed them for an issue on an old tax return which I amended (recently). However, they took my 2018 refund and are charging me high amounts of fees and interest. How likely is it that they will refund me back my refund? How long is the process? Also, after the amendment goes through do they take all the fees and interest away? The amount they say I owed back was a little over $2000.00 and now it is over $6000.00. Thanks for your advice (in advance). – Desiree in California

Jacob Dayan, Co-Founder of Community Tax, responds…

Once your amendment processes, the IRS should retroactively adjust any penalties and interest back to match your amended return and will issue a refund to you on any funds paid towards the amended tax year within the last 24 months. If your amended return shows that you do not owe any additional tax for the year in question, you should expect to see all penalties and interest removed and your entire 2018 refund returned to you within 6-10 months of filing the 1040X. The IRS could also send you a notice requesting additional information regarding your figures on your amended return. Be sure to check for any IRS letters and respond to their requests timely.

What is Form 1040X?

Form 1040X is the IRS form you file for an amended tax return. It’s mostly similar to the standard Form 1040, with an added space to explain why you’re filing an amended return.

Checking your amended tax return status

It’s important to be aware that you cannot file Form 1040X online; you must mail in the amended tax return. The IRS states that it can take up to three weeks for the amended return to even appear in their system. Then they say it can take up to 16 weeks to process the amended return. However, due to the pandemic, the processing time is closer to 6 months or more.

The IRS currently states on their website that processing of amended tax returns is currently taking 20 weeks. Due to the high volume of amended 2020 returns, taxpayers are experiencing serious delays in even seeing their returns processed.

In fact, in early January, the National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins delivered her 2021 Annual Report to Congress, which revealed that 2.3 million amended 2020 tax returns had still yet to be published at the time she issued her report.[1] Unfortunately, the report does not offer any solution or update on when the agency will get through processing all of these still pending amended returns. The process outlined in this post is still a taxpayer’s only method of checking on the status of their return.

After three weeks, you can check the status of your return through the IRS website at Where’s My Amended Return?

You’ll need your Social Security Number, date of birth and zip code to locate your records. There are three possible statuses that you’ll see:

Status Meaning
Received The IRS has received your Form 1040X; it’s in their system and being processed
Adjusted The IRS has applied the information from your amended return to your account.
Completed The IRS has fully processed your amended return and if there is no additional balance, they issued your amended tax return refund.

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Once the status shows as completed, there’s no further way to check the status of your refund

With normal tax returns, the IRS has a Where’s My Refund tool that allows you to check the status of your refund. But this technology is not available with an amended tax return refund. The other downside with an amended tax return is that you cannot receive a refund electronically through direct deposit. The IRS will mail a check to the address you use on the amended return. This means it could take up to 6 weeks to receive your check once they send it.

Unfortunately, you usually just have to be patient. The IRS will only take calls about the status of an amended tax return refund if it’s been 12 weeks since the official receipt of Form 1040X. If it has been 12 weeks, then you can call their hotline at 800-829-1040.

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About the Author

Jacob Dayan

Jacob Dayan

Jacob Dayan was born and raised in Chicago and worked in New York City as a financial analyst at Bear Stearns. In 2009, he returned to Chicago to be with his family and pursue a career assisting consumers and small businesses with various financial needs. In 2010, he co-founded Community Tax LLC, a full-service tax company helping customers nationwide with all of their tax resolution, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and accounting needs. He’s a licensed attorney in Illinois who graduated Magna Cum Laude from Mitchell Hamline School of Law and has worked with more than 60,000 clients – resolving more than $400 million in tax liabilities.

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