1040X Step by Step Guide

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A step by step tutorial for Form 1040X filers. We’ll take you all the way through filing the “apology” form to the IRS, Form 1040X.

How To Say “I’m Sorry” to an Accountant

Ok, so you screwed up Form 1040 a little bit. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. Many say that making a mistake is a great way to learn. But mistakes have to be corrected, so that’s why the IRS provides you with Form 1040X. It’s the official document that allows you to amend what you previously wrote on Form 1040.

Form 1040X is surprisingly easy to handle. It summarizes the most important lines from Form 1040. It has two sides, each divided in several parts.


Personal Information

In the first part, you enter your name, social security number, address and phone number. If you file together with your spouse, include his or her data as well. Then you tell the IRS what your filing status is. Even if your status remains unchanged since you completed Form 1040, you still have to check one box. There is only one condition here: you cannot switch from joint to separate filing after the due date.


Changes and Amendments

In this part, you write down the corrections on the most important indicators from Form 1040 (AGI, the amount of your deductions, exemptions, credits, payments). Use the three columns to the right to detail the original amounts, the net changes and the correct amounts.

You finish by recalculating the refund or amount you owe. See page 10 of the Instructions for Form 1040X (Rev. January 2019) brochure for more detailed information. You may have to wait between 8 and 12 weeks for this form to be processed.

Page 2 of Form 1040X continues with three parts. The first one is useful for detailing the changes in your exemptions, if applicable. To find out more relevant information, go to Form 1040 Instructions 2019, 1040A Instructions 2019 or page 11 of Instructions for Form 1040X (Rev. January 2019).

And now for the funny part. On Part 2 of Form 1040X’s second page you are “subtly” asked if, when you filed Form 1040, you perhaps forgot to donate $3 to the presidential election campaign. In other words, if you’re feel guilty for the mistakes you’ve made on Form 1040, donating is a good way to apologize (in Uncle Sam’s humble opinion, at least).

Part 3, the last part, allows for explanations in your own words about the reasons for which you had to file Form 1040X.

Now you only have to sign the document, date it, have your spouse do the same if filing jointly, and send it.

Before sending it, though, make sure to review a few useful things one last time.

You can amend a tax return for up to 3 years after the original deadline. Make sure you included all necessary forms and schedules to your 1040X documentation. Review Form 1040X one more time; it’s not too nice to make even more mistakes in a document meant to correct them. Reading the Instructions for Form 1040X (Rev. January 2019) - it’s just a few pages, really - will help you. Be aware of the amount that you owe (if applicable) and make sure you pay any required difference. Remember to check your state tax filings and see if any changes or action on your part are necessary. Oh, and you don’t need to submit a new Form 1040 along with Form 1040X.

It appears as though you’ve really finished your tax journey this time. Congratulations! Enjoy the feeling of being free of it!

Until next year, of course. Then we’ll be right here waiting to help you!