How Long Does an Amended Tax Refund Take to Be Issued

Allison Martin
1040X tax form

Did you recently submit an amended return and are wondering when the refund will be issued? Unfortunately, it may take much longer than you initially anticipated.

How the IRS Processes Amended Returns

When you file a Form 1040X, or Amended Tax Return, you must mail it in for processing. According to the IRS website, it may take up to three weeks for the document to appear in their system. You can use the Where's My Amended Return tool (which is updated every 24 hours) or call 1-866-464-2050 to check the status. Keep in mind it could take up to 16 weeks from the date of receipt for the IRS to process your return and issue your refund via paper check or direct deposit.

Processing Components

There are three phases to the procedure IRS uses to process Amended Tax Returns:

  • Phase 1- Received. This status confirms the IRS has received your Form 1040X or Amended Tax Return.

  • Phase 2- Adjusted. This status confirms the IRS has applied the updated information from your Form 1040X to your account.

  • Phase 3- Completed. This status confirms the IRS has processed your Amended Return and generated a refund (if applicable).

If there is an issue with your Amended Tax Return, the IRS will either contact you by mail or prompt you to contact them by phone through the Where's My Amended Return tool.

Common Issues

To expedite the processing of your return, avoid submitting returns that include errors, are incomplete, or are unsigned by the tax preparer. These are issues the IRS notes commonly result in longer processing times. Your amended return may also be delayed if the IRS needs more information, or if it meets any of the following criteria:

  • Has been compromised by identity theft or fraud

  • Needs processing in a special area, clearance from the bankruptcy department, or approval by a Revenue Officer

  • Is being appealed or reconsidered by an IRS decision

  • Contains Form 8379 for an Injured Spouse Allocation

Checking Status

Unlike standard tax return refunds, you cannot check the status of your Amended Tax Refund online. If you still haven't received your refund within 12 weeks, the IRS recommends contacting them directly at 800-829-1040 or using the number found via the Taxpayer Assistance Center Office Locator database. However, bear in mind an IRS representative cannot provide additional information if it has been less than 12 weeks since you initially submitted your Amended Tax Return.

Lack of Receipt

If you discover the IRS never received your Amended Tax Refund, resubmit promptly to the address listed in the instructions for Form 1040X. Be sure to notify the IRS of your intention to do so just in case the other form comes through after the fact.

Finally, feel free to contact the IRS with any questions you may have about the processing of Amended Tax Returns and Refunds so you know what to expect beforehand.

How Long Does an Amended Tax Refund Take to Be Issued