TAX TIP No. 18
You can file your return without 1099 forms
If you received interest or dividend income, sold a stock or worked as an independent contractor, you'll get some version of the Internal Revenue Service Form 1099 to help you complete your tax return.
As with W-2 wage statements, most 1099 forms, such as INT and DIV versions that show interest and dividends earned, usually must be distributed to recipients by the end of January. This filing season Jan. 31 is on a Saturday, so the deadline shifts to the next business day, Feb. 2.
A new law enacted in 2008, however, pushed the mailing deadline for 1099-B forms, which detail proceeds from broker and barter exchange transactions, to Feb. 15. And since Feb. 15, 2009, falls on Sunday and Monday, Feb. 16, is the federal Presidents Day holiday, the deadline is Feb. 17 this year. If you get combined interest and dividend information on a brokerage statement, then your broker also has until the Feb. 17 deadline to get all the tax data to you on a combined year-end statement.
So while you might have to wait a bit longer this filing season, if you don't receive an expected Form 1099-INT or 1099-DIV by mid-February, contact the issuer. Give the 1099-B a few days longer before checking. In any case, a delay could mean the payer has an incorrect or incomplete address for you. Alert the issuer of the changes and ask for a reissued statement.
Get a duplicate
Even if they tell you it's in the mail, ask for a duplicate.
If February comes and goes without arrival of either the original or duplicate statement, call the IRS at (800) 829-1040 for help in getting this information.
But you don't necessarily have to wait for the statements to file your return. You generally don't have to send in the actual 1099 forms with your return. They are just issued so you'll know how much to report, with copies going to the IRS so return processors can double-check your entries. As long as you have the correct information, you can put it on your tax form without having the statement in hand.
Tracking down the data
The easiest way to get this missing data is to call the employer, bank or investment company and ask for your income information over the phone. In some cases, the amounts that would be on a 1099 are readily available from documents you already have.
For example, your bank may put a summary of the interest paid during the year on your account's December or January statement. Many financial companies make the interest figure available through customer service phone lines or Web sites. And most investment firms include the year's Form 1099 cumulative amounts as part of quarterly dividend statements.
If your missing
1099 does finally show up, don't
discard it because you got the
information elsewhere and already
filed your return. Check the
form to ensure that the amount
it contains is the same as you
reported. If there is any discrepancy,
call the issuer to reconcile
When the late-arriving data is correct and what you filed is not, you'll need to file an amended return Form 1040X. If you don't, expect a call from the IRS, because the agency will use the final 1099 as its basis for reviewing your return for accuracy.
Common 1099 forms
Below is a table of various 1099 forms. Don't be concerned if the interest statements from separate financial institutions don't look alike. The IRS doesn't care what format the issuer uses. It just wants the income and tax information.
|Different 1099 forms
|-- Updated: Jan. 29, 2009