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IRS extends e-filing to more 1040-series amended returns

Taxpayers are now able to file amended returns electronically in more of the Form 1040 series, the IRS announced Thursday in a news release.

The newly e-filable forms include Form 1040-NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return, which is filed by nonresident aliens who must report and pay tax on U.S.-connected income. Also now with e-filing capability are several returns filed by bona fide residents of Puerto Rico: Form 1040-SS, U.S. Self-Employment Tax Return (Including the Additional Child Tax Credit for Bona Fide Residents of Puerto Rico), and Form 1040-PR, Self-Employment Tax Return — Puerto Rico.

In addition, the IRS announced it has added a checkbox to the e-file version of those returns, plus that of Form 1040-X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to indicate that a superseding return is being filed electronically. Form 1040-X has been e-filable since 2020.

A superseding return is a revision of an originally filed return but filed before that return’s due date, including extensions, and so supersedes or replaces, rather than amends, the original return.

Paper filings of amended returns add significantly to the IRS’s workload, as do all paper forms and returns, and generally require taxpayers to wait much longer before processing is complete. Consequently, as the IRS noted in the news release, steps to make more forms and returns e-filable aid both the Service and taxpayers.

“This new feature will further help people needing to make corrections,” IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said in the release. “This development will also assist the IRS with its inventory work on the current backlog of amended returns. This is another tool we’re using to help get us back on track.”

Reducing that backlog and the IRS’s other accumulations of unprocessed original returns and correspondence predominated among the objectives for the Service in National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins’s Objectives Report to Congress released Wednesday.  

Later on Wednesday, the IRS released a statement taking issue in part with Collins’s report. While “the IRS respects the important role the National Taxpayer Advocate plays for taxpayers and tax administration,” the statement said, her report’s “inventory numbers … are neither the most accurate nor most recent figures.” The IRS said it is “running ahead of tax return processing compared to a year ago” and that its recent hiring and redeployment of existing staff are enabling “substantial progress on the inventory.”

The IRS also reiterated its statement from Tuesday that it is close to completing work on all paper individual returns filed in 2021. For all paper returns the IRS holds, however, its own statistics appear to show that the pile is still growing higher.

In a June 17 update on its website, the IRS reported that as of June 10, it had 9.1 million paper returns awaiting review and processing, out of 11 million unprocessed individual returns received before 2022, plus “new tax year 2021 returns.” That was 600,000 more than the 8.5 million unprocessed paper returns reported as of June 1 and 2.4 million more than the 6.7 million paper returns as of April 29. Amended returns (whether on paper or e-filed is not specified) were reduced, but only slightly from the 2.3 million unprocessed on April 20 to 2.1 million remaining on June 10.

Taxpayers file about 3 million Forms 1040-X per year, the IRS said in the release. They can use the IRS’s online “Where’s My Amended Return?” site to check the status of e-filed amended returns, the Service said.

— To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Paul Bonner at [email protected].

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