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How to Handle Missing Tax Forms

Written by Nickel - 5 Comments

How to Handle Missing Tax Forms

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been throwing all the documents related to my 2010 taxes in a basket on the kitchen counter. At this point, I’ve either received everything, or have been told that I should access it online. What about you?

The main things that I’ve been expecting are my W-2 form from work as well as a bunch of 1099 forms. In my case, these include:

  • 1099-DIV (for dividends received)
  • 1099-INT (for interest earned)
  • 1099-MISC (for miscellaneous income)

You might also be expecting one or more of the following:

  • 1099-B (for proceeds of broker transactions)
  • 1099-C (for cancellation of debt)
  • 1099-G (for government payments, including unemployment)
  • 1099-OID (for certain investment income)
  • 1099-R (for retirement distributions)

There are a handful of other types of 1099 forms, but these cover the most common types. Note that whenever you receive a 1099 form, the IRS gets one, too. This helps them keep track of how much you’ve earned.

How to handle missing forms

So… What should you do if one or more of the tax forms that you’ve been expecting still hasn’t shown up?

If you have a missing W-2 form, you’ll need to check with your employer’s HR department. It should have arrived by January 31st, so by now it’s long overdue.

If, on the other hand, you have one or more missing 1099 forms (likewise due by January 31st), consider the following…

For starters, a 1099-MISC is generally not required unless you earned more than $600 from that source during the year. In some cases, you might still get a 1099, but don’t hold your breath. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the income isn’t taxable, just that they don’t have to issue a 1099. In contrast, 1099-INT and 1099-DIV forms are required for earnings in excess of $10.

Second, payments that are made to a corporation do not require a 1099. Thus, if you’re self-employed and have incorporated your business, it’s quite possible that you won’t receive any 1099s related to your work. Once again, this doesn’t mean that the income in question isn’t taxable.

Assuming that you should have received a 1099 and it never showed up, your best bet is to contact the payer. If you still can’t get it straightened out, you might consider contacting the IRS at 800-829-1040. Just be aware that, whether or not you receive a 1099, you are legally obligated to declare all income.

Note that, because you don’t typically have to attach 1099s to your tax return, you don’t have to wait for a delayed 1099 to show up before filing your taxes. Rather, as long as you can figure out exactly how much you’ve earned (as well as any income taxes withheld), you can just go ahead and report it without documentation.

Published on February 14th, 2011 - 5 Comments
Filed under: Taxes

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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5 Responses to “How to Handle Missing Tax Forms”

  1. 1
    BG Says:

    We were missing a 1098 (mortgage interest paid) — quick call to the bank and they mailed a new copy.

    I guess the trick with missing forms, is you have to be on top of your finances to know whether or not you are missing a form.

    Either way, if after you file, and a new (or updated) form shows up in the mail — you should just file an amended return (it’s pretty painless to do).

  2. 2
    Steve Says:

    I got an account opening bonus, but the amount was not included on any of the forms I got from the company. If it was taxable, as I assume/believe, it should have shown up on the 1099-INT. The company was sharebuilder, who gave me a consolidated tax form; the 1099-INT included showed zero interest. It makes me question my assumption. Of course Sharebuilder is not in the business of doing my taxes. I wonder if I should include the amount on my taxes or not?

  3. 3
    TFB Says:

    Only 1099-MISC has a $600 minimum. 1099-INT and 1099-DIV have $10 minimum.

  4. 4
    BG Says:

    Steve) that would probably show up as a 1099-MISC, but you only get that if the amount was over $600. How you handle it is up to you, but the safest bet is to report it somewhere on your return.

  5. 5
    Nickel Says:

    TFB: My bad for not being more clear. I’ve edited that section for clarity.

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