Amended Tax Returns (1040X) within 3 Years of Original Filing
When you discover a mistake on a federal tax return you previously filed, you have the option of filing an amended tax return on Form 1040X to correct it. However, if your amended tax return results in a refund, the IRS limits the amount of time you have to file the 1040X to the later of three years from the time you file the original return or two years from the date you pay the tax for that year.
If you are considering filing an amended tax return to claim a refund, you should first evaluate whether you are within the three-year limitations period. However, for purposes of calculating the three years, you don’t always use the actual date you file the original return. Instead, the IRS considers your original filing date as the tax return deadline, provided you file on or before the deadline. For example, if you filed your 2011 tax return on February 12, 2012, the three-year period doesn’t begin until April 17, 2012 (April 15 was a Sunday; April 16th was a holiday). This means you have until April 16, 2015 to file an amended tax return on 1040X. However, if you file after the deadline, use the actual date you place the return in the mail or the day you e-file as the first day of the three-year period.
Filing 1040X within Two Years of Your Tax Payment
In the event more than three years pass since your original tax return filing, you can evaluate your eligibility to file an amended tax return using the two-year payment rule since you can always use the later of the two dates. For example, suppose when you filed the 2011 return on April 17, 2012 you have an outstanding tax debt, and to avoid any late-filing penalties, you file the return without enclosing payment. If you finally send a tax payment to the IRS on April 1, 2013, this is the date you use to begin the two-year period. Therefore, you can file an amended tax return on Form 1040X to claim a refund until April 1, 2015. In this case, the three-year limitations period provides the later date, and therefore, the last day you can file Form 1040X is April 17, 2015.