The Fix-It Form Goes Electronic, Finally!

The Internal Revenue Service has promoted electronic filing for years, to the point where more than 90 percent of taxpayers are sending federal tax returns and other reports directly to its computers.  But there’s been one big exception. The only way for taxpayers to change an individual income tax return after filing it has been by sending a paper Form 1040-X through the mail.

Commissioner Charles Reddig now has announced that, after years of trying, the IRS has “overcome the unique challenges related to the 1040-X” and succeeded in moving it online. Beginning this summer, taxpayers will be able to amend returns and send them to the IRS by computer using an electronic 1040-X. Commercial tax software packages also have been updated with the virtual form.

The electronic option doubtless will be more convenient for many taxpayers. It’s also a big deal for the IRS, which receives about 3 million copies of Form 1040-X each year Those amended returns will arrive more quickly and minimize errors typically found on the past paper filings, the agency said.

The IRS hasn’t announced exactly when the 1040-X will go online yet.  When it does, taxpayers at first will be able to use it only to change 1040 and 1040-SR returns filed for 2019. In other words, you’ll still have to file a 1040-X on paper to revise 2018 or earlier returns.

The IRS assures that taxpayers will be able to track the status of their electronically filed 1040-Xs through “Where’s My Amended Return?” just as in the past. Of course, they also have the option to stick with the paper version, the IRS notes.

Are you wondering how – or if – you should amend a past tax return? Contact EricJohn Ltd. principal Eric Buechler. He is a tax preparation specialist and enrolled agent recognized by the IRS.

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