What Happens If the Same Income Tax Return Is E-Filed Twice?

by Leigh Thompson

With a double click of the “Submit” button, you could accidentally send your tax return to the IRS twice. When you submit your tax return twice, one is rejected back to you. Duplicate filing includes other ramifications beyond the initial rejection. Make sure you send your tax return once and wait for IRS notification of rejection before attempting to resubmit it.


The IRS does an initial processing of submitted returns by checking the Social Security numbers, names and dates of birth with the Social Security Administration database. The first time you submit your tax return the system matches it to your name and Social Security number. When you submit it again, it matches to those numbers again and rejects your return as a duplicate. You receive email notification that your second submission was rejected along with an error code showing the reason. The first submitted return stays with the IRS for processing.


E-filing tax returns comes with an increased risk of identity theft. The thief takes your personal identifiers and files your taxes with the intent of stealing your tax refund. The only way the tax filer knows about the theft is when he attempts to file his return and gets a duplicate filing error. With the rise in identity theft, the IRS routinely flags duplicate returns to ensure no identity theft is at play.


Taxpayers who are tracking the process of their refund using the online IRS tool “Where’s My Refund?” may pass the estimated timeline for refund processing. Flagged returns take longer to process as an actual IRS employee must review your information to ensure no fraud is committed. The additional time delays issuance of your tax return refund check.

Amend Instead of Refiling

It’s common to receive a late tax document in the mail or miss a deduction or credit on your taxes. In these cases, you must amend your electronically filed tax return to reflect the correct information. Do not modify your e-filed tax return and resubmit it. The IRS flags it as duplicate and rejects it. Instead, after your tax return is processed, and you have received any refund owed you, fill out Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Tax Return. Form 1040X must be mailed in to the IRS. It cannot be sent electronically.

About the Author

Leigh Thompson began writing in 2007 and specializes in creating content for websites. She has been published online in various capacities. Thompson has an associate degree in information technology from the University of Kansas and is working on a bachelor's degree in business and personal finance.

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