From   Michael Cohn, Editor-in-chief @ Accounting Today

The Internal Revenue Service is now letting taxpayers submit Form 1040-X electronically when they want to file an amended tax return through commercial tax software, in what the agency called a “major milestone in tax administration.”

The move comes after years of effort by the IRS to streamline the process of filing an amended return as more taxpayers use commercial tax prep software to file their own tax returns. The IRS said the enhancement would allow taxpayers to quickly correct their previously filed tax returns while minimizing errors.

“The ability to file the Form 1040-X electronically has been an important long-term goal of the IRS e-file initiative for many years,” said Sunita Lough, IRS deputy commissioner for services and enforcement, in a statement on Monday. “Given the details needed on the form, there have been numerous challenges to add this form to the e-file family. Our IT and business operation teams worked hard with the nation’s tax industry to make this change possible. This is another success for IRS modernization efforts.”

Allowing the 1040-X to be e-filed has been a goal for the tax software and tax professional industry for years and has been a perennial recommendation from the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council and the Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee.

Currently, taxpayers need to mail a completed Form 1040-X to the IRS for processing. The new electronic option enables the IRS to receive amended tax returns faster while reducing errors typically associated with manually filling out the form.

While tax software enables users to enter their data in a simple question-and-answer format, it also makes it easier for IRS employees to respond to taxpayer questions since the data has been entered electronically and submitted to the agency almost simultaneously.

In the initial phase of the IRS’s new change, only tax year 2019 Forms 1040 and 1040-SR returns can be amended electronically, but further improvements are expected in the future.

Approximately 3 million Forms 1040-X are filed by taxpayers every year. Taxpayers will still have the option to send a paper version of the Form 1040-X and the IRS advised them to follow the instructions for preparing and submitting the paper form. Taxpayers who file a Form 1040-X electronically and on paper can use the Where’s My Amended Return? online tool to check the status of their amended return.

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