Where’s My Amended Tax Refund? 

How Long Do Amended Tax Returns Take?

Short on Time? Here’s a quick summary of what’s ahead: 

If you realized you made an error on your original tax return and submitted a Form 1040-X to amend it, you might now be wondering what the status of your amended return is, and when you’re going to receive your refund. 

Unfortunately, amended returns take much longer to process than standard returns, so you might have to wait as long as six months for your amended refund to be processed. 

Having to wait for a refund is bad enough, but we know that not knowing the status of your refund, or whether your amended return was ever even received, is even worse. 

So, we’ve answered common questions about amended tax returns below – including how you can easily keep track of your amended tax return’s status – so you’ll know exactly what to expect once you’ve submitted your 1040-X and won’t spend many long months wondering, where’s my amended refund?!

What is an amended return and when should I file one?

Completing a tax return is complicated, so it’s only natural that people will sometimes make mistakes. The IRS understands this, and so enables you to file amended returns – even after you have paid your taxes for the year in question.

Often, these mistakes include things such as not realizing you’d qualified for certain tax credits or deductions that would reduce the amount of tax you owe, which means you’ll be due an amended tax refund. 

However, it’s also important to file an amended return if you’ve realized you made an error that’s not in your favor. 

The most common instances in which you should file an amended return include: 

  • Discovering an error on your original tax return, such as claiming the wrong filing status, forgetting to report certain income, or making an incorrect deduction. 
  • Forgetting to claim a dependent, or claiming a dependent incorrectly. 
  • Incorrectly claiming an expense, deduction, or credit that you weren’t eligible for.
  • Forgetting (or not realizing) about tax credits or deductions that you do qualify for. 
  • You took the standard deduction, but have realized that you would have benefited more from itemizing your deductions. 

Rather than preparing your tax return again from scratch, you can file amendments using Form 1040-X – as long as your original return was prepared using Form 1040 or one of its specified varieties. If you’re filing due to an error that reduces the total amount of tax you owe for that year, this Form 1040-X represents your official and formal claim for a refund. 

Bear in mind that the IRS does impose time restrictions on amendments, however. 

Amended returns must be filed within three years of the original filing date, or within two years of the date you paid the tax. Any later than this, and you will lose the opportunity to claim your amended refund. 

As with most things tax-related, filing a 1040-X amended return – or even knowing if you might have missed important credits or deductions that could reduce your tax liability – can be complex and overwhelming. If you owe the IRS more tax than you think you should, or that you can afford, your best bet is to call an expert for help. Here at Tax Relief Helpers we can review your old tax returns to check you haven’t been charged more tax than necessary, help you prepare an amended tax return if you have, and guide you through other tax relief options if not. Don’t suffer the stress of taxes alone, contact us today for a free consultation

How long do amended returns take to process? 

Unlike standard tax returns, which are typically processed within three weeks, the processing time for amended returns is currently up to 20 weeks – and this applies to both paper and electronic filing methods.
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to speed this up. The IRS explicitly states that calling or otherwise contacting them will not help, and their representatives are unable to research the status of an amended return before these 20 weeks have passed.

How can I check on my amended tax refund status? 

The IRS provides an online tool called “Where’s My Amended Return”, which enables you to track the status of your return and your amended refund. Alternatively, there is a toll-free number you can call for the same information: 866-464-2050. 

You won’t receive any other kind of confirmation that your amended tax return has been received, and it takes around three weeks for your status to appear in this tool, so unfortunately there’s nothing to do but wait patiently for the first few weeks. 

To use “Where’s My Amended Return” or the hotline number, you’ll need your social security or individual tax ID number, your date of birth, and your zip code. 

After the initial three weeks have passed, your return will then show one of three different statuses: 

  • Received: Confirmation that your amended return has been received and is being processed. Processing can take up to 20 weeks, so your status may not change again for some time. 
  • Adjusted: Confirmation that your amended return has been reviewed and your account adjusted accordingly, which “will result in a refund, balance due, or no tax change.”
  • Completed: Confirmation that your amended return has been fully processed, and “you will receive all the information connected to its processing by mail.”  

If you’ve already submitted your 1040-X and are wondering where your amended refund is, you can check its status directly with the IRS now, by clicking this button:

Important: Note that this tool is only updated once every 24 hours, at night. So there’s no need to check your status more than once per day. 

Also note that this is a different tool to the IRS’s “Where’s My Refund”, which is a similar status tracker, but one that’s only valid for original tax returns. Even if you know you will be due a refund from your amended return, the correct tool to use is the “Where’s My Amended Return” tool, not the “Where’s My Refund” tool.

Why is my amended refund taking so long?

Standard processing time for amended returns has become slower over the last few years, and the IRS now officially states that it “can take more than 20 weeks.”

So even in the most straightforward of cases, we’re sorry to say you’ll probably spend at least half the year wondering, where’s my amended refund?!

Several other factors can also cause delays to the processing time, such as: 

  • Your amended return contains errors, is incomplete, or isn’t signed. 
  • The IRS has returned it to you requesting more information. 
  • It includes Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation. 
  • It is affected by identity theft or fraud. 
  • It needs to be reviewed by a specialized area of the IRS. 
  • It involves an appeal or a requested reconsideration of an IRS decision. 

In these cases, it’s to be expected that processing will take over 20 weeks, but you are unlikely to be given any indication of how much longer it may take. 

If more information is needed to process your amended return, you will be contacted by the IRS. So although we know the wait can be frustrating, as long as your status is displaying within the “Where’s My Amended Return” tool, your best bet is generally to just sit tight and wait patiently. 

My amended return says completed, when will I receive the check?

Once you reach “Completed” status in “Where’s My Amended Return”, you should expect to receive all the relevant information – including the check for your refunded amount – in the mail within about 21 days. 

If you haven’t received anything within three weeks of your status changing to Completed, it’s worth calling the IRS hotline to ask them to look into it.