After weeks of waiting, tax professionals and taxpayers finally got the word from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS): amended returns can now be electronically filed.
In May, the IRS had given notice that later this summer, taxpayers would be able to file Form 1040-X, Amended U.S Individual Income Tax Return electronically.
Before this year, you could only amend your tax return by paper. At the best of times, that could mean a six-to-eight week wait for processing. And these are not the best of times. With a backlog of mail and some offices closed due to the pandemic, processing times are extremely lengthy.
Taxpayers and tax professionals have – for years – hoped that the IRS would allow for e-filing amended returns. According to the IRS, making the 1040-X an electronically filed form has been the agency’s goal for years. It has also been a continuing recommendation from the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council (IRSAC) and the Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee (ETAAC). Now, it’s finally happening: you can submit Form 1040-X electronically with commercial tax-filing software.
“The ability to file the Form 1040-X electronically has been an important long-term goal of the IRS e-file initiative for many years,” said Sunita Lough, IRS Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement. “Given the details needed on the form, there have been numerous challenges to add this form to the e-file family. Our IT and business operation teams worked hard with the nation’s tax industry to make this change possible. This is another success for IRS modernization efforts. The addition helps taxpayers have a quicker, easier way to file amended returns, and it streamlines work for the IRS and the entire tax community.”
Since the tax-filing software allows users to input their data in a question-answer format, it simplifies the process. According to the IRS, it also makes it easier for IRS employees to answer taxpayer questions since the data is entered electronically and submitted to the agency almost simultaneously.
“Adding the 1040-X to the e-filing portfolio provides a better experience for the taxpayer, all around. It makes submitting an amended return easier and it allows our employees to process it in a more efficient way,” said Ken Corbin, the IRS Wage and Investment commissioner and head of the division responsible for processing these returns.
But don’t get too excited. So far, you can only file electronically for amended returns for the tax year 2019 Forms 1040 and 1040-SR returns. More years and “additional improvements” are planned for the future.
If you don’t want to file electronically, you don’t have to: you still can submit a paper version of the Form 1040-X. Those filing their Form 1040-X electronically and on paper can use the “Where’s My Amended Return?” online tool to check their amended return status.