I need to amend my return, but I have already received a check from IRS (they approved my return that I need to amend). Should I cash out this check and then amend my return, or should I dispose this check and wait for a check from an amended return?

  • 2
    Assuming the US bureaucracy works the same way as every other bureaucracy in the world, if they have sent you a check they think they have given you the money. There is no sense trying to convince them they didn't do that by not cashing the check - as a minimum you would have to return it to them (but to who, exactly, in a big bureaucracy?) uncashed. If they want their money back, they will ask for it soon enough! (But then, in my country they would have just made an electronic transfer to my bank account anyway - we don't use 18th-century banking technology like checks any more.)
    – alephzero
    Apr 24, 2017 at 23:42
  • @alephzero: The IRS is perfectly capable of doing electronic transfers. It's just that in this country we give people options :-) Perhaps you could explain how people without bank accounts do electronic transfers in your country?
    – jamesqf
    Apr 25, 2017 at 0:59
  • @jamesqf "people without bank accounts" those simply don't exist, I would assume.
    – njzk2
    Apr 25, 2017 at 14:41
  • @njzk2: Perhaps in your country they don't. In the US it's not uncommon, especially among undocumented workers. 7% of households, per the FDIC: fdic.gov/householdsurvey
    – jamesqf
    Apr 26, 2017 at 3:42
  • @jamesqf in the parts of europe that I know, you can't do anything with a check except depositing it in an account, and the right to a basic bank account is applicable to everyone legally resident. I don't know how undocumented workers do, but I don't think they can receive checks either.
    – njzk2
    Apr 26, 2017 at 4:06

3 Answers 3


The amended return Form 1040x has a different calculation for the `Refund or Amount You Owe' section than the original 1040, you use the amount you owed or amount overpaid from the original return to offset the impact of the amended return. This calculation assumes the refund/payment has been made already.

1040X Refund or Amount You Owe

So deposit your refund check, then file the amended return. I suggest filing sooner rather than later in case you owe (unlikely to be penalized unless it's significant/fraudulent), but sooner is better anyway.


Yes, you can cash the check now, but with the caution that if your amended return causes you to owe much more, you should immediately file and include payment with your amended return to avoid interest and penalties.


According to TurboTax:

Of course. In fact, the government doesn't want you to amend until you've already gotten your tax refund.

You're free to cash your refund check or spend it once you have it. You don't need to wait for your amendment to finish processing, which can take another 3-4 months.

If you owe money after amending, you'll just include payment with your mailed amendment form.

And if your amendment results in a second refund, you'll get a check for the additional amount.

So yes, you can cash out this check and then amend your return. If you end up owing money, you'll just pay it when you file your amended returns:

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