Internal Revenue Service United States Department of the Treasury
Level Basic Advanced Military International

Amended and Prior Year Returns

When to Amend a Return

Additional Forms/Changing Information

File an amended return if taxpayers:

  • Received another Form W-2, a corrected Form W-2, or another income statement that was not reported on the original return
  • Received an additional Form 1099 (such as unemployment compensation) or a corrected Form 1099 that was not reported on the original return
  • Claimed their own personal exemption on the return when someone else was entitled to claim it
  • Claimed deductions or credits they should not have claimed
  • Did not claim deductions or credits they could have claimed
  • Should have used a different filing status
Example

Two weeks after Bernard's current year tax return was filed, he received another Form W-2 in the mail. The volunteer tax preparer reviewed Bernard's file to be sure the Form W-2 wasn't included in the original return. The volunteer then helped Bernard prepare Form 1040X to include the additional Form W-2 on the current year return.

Tip

Remind taxpayers: if the federal return has to be amended, the state return may also need to be amended.

Tip

After the due date of the original return, a taxpayer can change from Married Filing Separately to Married Filing Jointly, but cannot change from Married Filing Jointly to Married Filing Separately. However, an executor may be able to make this change for a deceased spouse. Refer to Publication 17 for more information.