IRS New Carrolton Federal Building
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Why Isn’t My Amended Tax Return Showing Up?

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Apr. 7 2021, Published 10:27 a.m. ET

Many Americans have been frustrated with the IRS lately. With tax season well underway, millions of people who have filed their tax returns are still waiting for refunds (or even waiting for the IRS to show that they’ve received the returns). One part of the tax filing process that can be especially slow is amended tax returns. 

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You might have filed an amended tax return for one of several reasons. For small clerical errors or forgetting to attach a specific form, you usually don’t need to file an amended return—the IRS will fix it or contact you if necessary. 

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Many Americans filed their taxes early during tax season. If they filed an amended return, it might not have shown up in the IRS system yet. The IRS says that it could take up to three weeks for an amended return to show up in the IRS system. The actual processing time for amended returns is up to 16 weeks.  

Why an amended return isn't showing up

If you have filed an amended tax return, chances are you haven’t yet received your tax refund. The IRS has been fairly overloaded with multiple major tasks occurring simultaneously. Since the agency is still processing the third round of stimulus checks as well as managing tax season, processing delays are common. 

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Locating an amended return

An amended tax return is Form 1040-X. The IRS has an online tool for checking on your amended tax return called “Where’s My Amended Return?” The website also lists a toll-free automated phone number that you can call if you need to check the status of an amended return. Is number is 866-464-2050.  

Checking the status of an amended return

For anyone who filed an amended tax return, checking the “Where’s My Amended Return?” tool might not provide new information. Due to many delays and the high volume of tasks that the IRS is dealing with, wait times could be longer than usual.  

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In order to check the status of your amended return, you need a few pieces of information. You need your social security number, date of birth, and zip code. Use the IRS tool to check whether your amended return has been received or is processing. 

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Why income tax refunds are delayed

The IRS says that tax refunds are usually issued within 21 days of filing. However, the IRS has also experienced delays due to the third round of COVID-19 stimulus checks being issued.  

Income tax refunds are usually processed quickly for individuals who file electronically and have direct deposit set up with the IRS. Filing paper returns will automatically cause delays due to the postal service delays and the IRS’s processing times for mailed returns

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Other reasons for refund delays, besides filing by mail, could be errors on your return, possible fraud or identity theft, or information that requires an additional IRS review.  

Amended returns usually need to be filed within three years of the original filing date or two years from the date you paid any tax due (whichever of those dates is later). Since May 17 is the filing deadline this year, the amended tax return deadline would be May 17, 2024.  

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