A guide to 1099 forms

When and why you could receive a 1099

Derek Silva

Derek Silva

Published March 17, 2020

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Form 1099 has multiple versions, all of which report income that wasn’t in the form or wages or salaries

  • You should get almost all your 1099s by January 31, 2020, though you may not receive a 1099-B, 1099-S, or 1099-MISC until February 18, 2020

  • You won’t get a 1099 unless you had at least a certain amount of income to report, often at least $10

  • You don’t need to attach 1099s to your tax return, so you can still file if you didn’t receive them but know generally how much will be reported on them

Form 1099 is a tax form that reports income you earned during that year that wasn’t in the form of salaries, wages, or tips from a main employer. There are nearly two dozen versions of Form 1099 and each one lists a different type of income. For example, a 1099-INT lists income you earned from interest on a bank account and a 1099-R lists income you withdrew from a retirement account.

You will generally receive all of your 1099 forms by the end of January, but you may have to wait a little longer if you are receiving a paper form in the mail. Certain types of 1099s, like the 1099-B, 1099-S, and certain 1099-MISC forms, do not need to be sent to you until February 18, 2020. You almost certainly won’t get a form unless you had more than a certain amount of income for the sender to report. In many cases, you need to make at least $10 for the relevant type of income to get a 1099.

If you don’t receive your 1099s and need them to file your taxes, reach out to the sender. If you already know how much income will be listed on your 1099s, you may still be able to file your taxes. Worst case scenario is you overestimate your earnings, overpay slightly, and then recoup the excess on the next year’s taxes. You can also get forms from a previous year by requesting a tax transcript from the IRS. (Learn more about how to file your taxes.)

In this article

When will I get my 1099 forms?

In almost all cases, companies and financial institutions are required by law to send your 1099 forms by January 31.

This means the form needs to be postmarked (in the mail) by January 31. Keep in mind that it could still take weeks for you to get forms if they were physically mailed on that date. If you have opted to receive forms digitally, the digital version should be in your account on January 31 (or first thing on February 1). If that date falls on a weekend or holiday, it should be available on the next business day.

There are a few exceptions: Form 1099-B, 1099-S, some 1099-MISC forms, and any consolidated 1099 forms that include one of those three, must be postmarked by February 18, 2020. Normally these must be postmarked by February 15, but that deadline is extended to the next business day if the 15th falls on a weekend or President’s Day. (Learn more about bank holidays.)

When someone is sending you multiple versions of Form 1099, they may choose to combine them into one consolidated 1099 form. Consolidated 1099s are common for people who have investment income, capital gains, and brokerage accounts containing investments in either mutual funds or Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).

Will I get a 1099?

For the most common 1099s, like the 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, and 1099-R, you should receive a form if you had $10 of income or more to report. Other versions of the form have other income thresholds, above which you should expect to get a form.

It’s possible that you won’t receive a 1099 but will receive an equivalent form that contains all of the same information. Reach out to the sender if you haven’t received any form with the information you need.

Any time someone sends you a 1099 form, a copy is also sent to the IRS. If you need to file a previous year’s tax return and don’t have your old 1099s, you can request a free copy from the IRS by requesting a wage and income transcript.

Tax Day is July 15th.

Learn how to file your taxes before Tax Day with the five-day Policygenius Tax Bootcamp. It's free!

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What if I don’t get my 1099?

First of all, you most likely won’t get a 1099 if you had less than $10 of income to report. You should still include that income on your tax return, though. Report it the same way you would if you had received the form.

If you had more than $10 of income but didn’t get a 1099, reach out to the form’s sender. With that said, if you know generally how much income will be reported on your 1099, you can file without your 1099s by simply including that income on your federal tax return. A 1099 is considered an “information return” and you don't need to attach it to your return. (We do still recommend getting a copy for your personal records.)

If you don’t receive your 1099 forms in time and need them to file your taxes, you may want to request a free six-month tax extension. Note that you need to pay any tax bill by Tax Day, even if you get an extension. (This applies to those who won’t get a refund and will instead owe money to the IRS.) In this case, it’s probably better to overestimate the amount of your income. You can recoup any excess tax you paid on the next year’s tax return.

Note: The Trump administration has extended the date by which you need to file taxes to July 15, 2020, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We recommend filing as soon as you can to make use of tax refunds and give yourself more time to pay if you owe anything. Learn more about how coronavirus is affecting taxes.

The different kinds of 1099 forms

There are nearly two dozen versions of Form 1099 and many people will get at least a few of them at different points in their lives. Below we cover the different kinds of 1099 forms, when you might get each one, and how to report it on your taxes.

Form 1099-A, Acquisition or Abandonment of Secured Property

If you used a property as collateral for a loan, and then you either abandon the property or the lender acquires the property (through foreclosure, for example) then you will receive a 1099-A.

Foreclosure on a home is the most common case for an individual to receive a 1099-A. However, if the lender is planning to send you a 1099-A and a 1099-C, you will only receive a 1099-C. You can expect either of those forms from the lender by January 31, 2020.

You may have to use the information on 1099-A to report capital gains. If you got this form for the sale of business property, complete Form 4797.

Form 1099-B, Proceeds From Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions

A broker will generally send you a 1099-B by February 18, 2020, if you had income from transactions involving stock, securities, real estate, or other investments. A 1099-B form will help you file capital gains tax. On your tax return, complete Schedule D and likely Form 8949 as well.

If you are receiving other kinds of 1099 forms from the same institution, they may choose to combine the 1099s into a consolidated 1099. You should still receive all consolidated 1099s by February 18, 2020.

Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt

You should receive a 1099-C by January 31, 2020, if you had at least $600 of debt cancelled during the year. This includes the cancellation of debt you owe for a home, like in the case of foreclosure.

You’ll receive his form if the debt was cancelled by a bank, credit union, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC), another lender or financial institution, the federal government, a department of the U.S. military, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), or the Postal Rate Commission.

Information on a 1099-C is reported on Form 982.

Form 1099-CAP, Changes in Corporate Control and Capital Structure

The 1099-CAP goes to shareholders who received at least $1,000 — as cash, stock, or other property — due to an acquisition of control or a substantial change in the capital structure of a corporation. You should expect a copy of the form from a corporation by January 31, 2020.

Form 1099-DIV, Dividends and Distributions

You should receive a 1099-DIV by January 31, 2020, if you had $10 or more of capital gains or investment dividends (even if they aren’t taxable). You will also receive the form if you received $600 or more from the liquidation of a company in which you were a shareholder, such as from a business selling all its assets and distributing the proceeds to shareholders. Your broker or investment fund company will send your 1099-DIV.

The information on a 1099-DIV will be reported on line 3 of your Form 1040 (the main tax form).

Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments

A 1099-G is used to report $10 or more of unemployment compensation, tax refunds you got from state and local governments, agricultural payments, or taxable grants you received. You should get it by January 31, 2020. Your 1099-G will be sent by the relevant government agency.

Form 1099-H, Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) Advance Payments

Your health insurance provider will send you a 1099-H if you had any portion of your health insurance premiums paid with advance payments from the health coverage tax credit (HCTC). Expect the form by January 31, 2020, for premium payments made in 2019.

When you file your taxes, use Form 1099-H to help you complete Form 8885, which is where you report the premium payments you received during the year.

Learn about other ways you can get help paying for health insurance premiums.

Form 1099-INT, Interest Income

The 1099-INT is used to report income you earned as interest during the year. This includes interest from savings or checking accounts, so most people will receive a copy of 1099-INT. Individuals who paid foreign income tax may have it reported on a 1099-INT. (This income could qualify you for the foreign tax credit.)

You should expect to get your copy of the form by January 31, 2020, but you may not get one if you had less than $10 of interest income. The information on a 1099-INT will be reported directly on your Form 1040 (line 2).

See how much interest you will earn this year with our savings calculator.

Form 1099-K, Merchant Card and Third Party Network Payments

The 1099-K is common for businesses that make money through credit and debit card payments. There are two situations where you can receive a 1099-K. One is if you had any amount of income from credit, debit, or other card transactions. The other is if you had at least $20,000 of income and at least 200 transactions through third-party payment networks (except for automated clearing house (ACH) transactions). You should expect a Form 1099-K from your bank or payment processors by January 31, 2020.

Make sure to include the income on 1099-K forms along with the rest of your gross receipts (business income) on your federal income tax return. Depending on the type of business you have, you may have to report it on Schedule C (most businesses, including sole proprietorships), Schedule E (partnerships and S corporations), or Schedule F (farming income).

Form 1099-LS, Reportable Life Insurance Sale

You should receive a copy of 1099-LS if you sold a life insurance policy. You should receive a 1099-LS, or a similar written statement to use on your taxes, regardless of the insurance policy’s value. Expect the form by February 18, 2020.

Selling your life insurance policy is sometimes called a “viatical settlement.”

If you are considering selling your insurance policy, you may want to talk to an insurance expert first and consider just swapping your current policy for a shorter or cheaper policy. Policygenius can help talk to an expert or reshop your insurance policy.

Form 1099-LTC, Long-Term Care and Accelerated Death Benefits

Your insurance company will send you a 1099-LTC by January 31, 2020, if you received any payments from a long-term care insurance contract or any accelerated death benefits from a life insurance policy, whether bought from an insurer or a viatical settlement provider.

You most likely need to complete IRS Form 8853 when you file your taxes.

Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income

The form 1099-MISC is a very common tax form for freelancers, independent contractors, self-employed workers, and anyone else who earned income from services performed for a company where they were not an employee.

The income on a 1099-MISC usually needs to be reported on Schedule C as self-employment income. (If you expect significant income from a 1099-MISC, you should file estimated taxes.) You should usually receive your 1099-MISC by January 31, 2020. There are only a couple of exceptions, which we mention below.

You may receive a 1099-MISC if one of the following applies to you:

  • You made $600 or more working as a freelancer, independent contractor, or for services for a business that you were not an employee of
  • You made $600 or more from rent payments
  • You made $600 or more from prizes or awards that weren’t in exchange for a service (like game show prizes or winnings from a radio show)
  • You received $10 or more from royalty payments
  • You received $600 or more of payments for services you performed as a physician or other supplier of health and medical services; these 1099s are primarily sent by medical assistance programs, health insurance plans, or accident insurance plans
  • You received at least $600 of gross income as an attorney; in this case, you should receive your 1099 by February 18, 2020
  • Your received at least $600 from crop insurance
  • You earned any money as the owner, operator, or crew member of a fishing boat; these earnings result from the sale of a catch
  • You purchased at least $600 of fish for the purpose of reselling it
  • You received any Section 409A income from nonqualified deferred compensation plans (NQDCs), which is income you earned in one year but were paid in another year
  • A broker paid you $10 or more in substitute for dividends, or just in tax-exempt dividend payments (you should receive this 1099 by February 18, 2020)
  • You had a U.S. bank account that you used for receiving payments from a foreign financial institution, even if you didn’t receive any payments during the past year
  • You purchased goods or items worth at least $5,000 with the intent of reselling it (this can include selling through online, third-party platforms like ebay or Amazon)

Learn more: How self-employment tax works.

Form 1099-OID, Original Issue Discount

You usually receive a 1099-OID because you bought a bond at a price lower than its face value (the value you get for the bond once it matures). In this case, the bond’s original issue discount, or OID, is the difference between what you paid and the face value. If the OID was at least $10, you can expect a 1099-OID from your broker or the issuer by January 31, 2020. You may not receive a copy of the form if the price difference was less than $10.

The 1099-OID is also used to report OID from a certificate of deposit (CD), collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), and U.S. government obligations. This form can also be used to report an early withdrawal penalty you paid for a bond, CD, or other time deposit.

Report OID on your tax return along with other interest you earned during the year (such as on a Form 1099-INT). The value of the OID can also decrease your capital gains (or capital losses) if you sold a bond.

Form 1099-PATR, Taxable Distributions Received From Cooperatives

A 1099-PATR is a common form for farmers who work as part of a cooperative business or just sell crops to a co-op. You should receive a 1099-PATR from the cooperative by January 31, 2020, if you had at least $10 of distribution payments from a cooperative, including for the domestic production activities deduction. A cooperative’s patrons (members) may also receive a copy of 1099-PATR for certain tax credits you can claim because you had pass-through income from the cooperative.

Report income on a 1099-PATR as “Other income” on line 8 of Schedule 1.

Form 1099-Q, Payments From Qualified Education Programs

You should receive a 1099-Q form by January 31, 2020, if you withdrew any money from a 529 college savings plan or Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESA). The bank managing your account or the account administrator is the one who needs to send you the form.

Your distributions from a Coverdell ESA or 529 plan are not subject to income tax as long as you used them to pay for qualified education expenses.

Form 1099-QA, Distributions From ABLE Accounts

Individuals should receive a copy of Form 1099-QA if they received any income from an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account. Expect your form by January 31, 2020, from the account administrator.

Money you withdraw from an ABLE account is generally not subject to federal income tax, as long as the money goes to the account’s beneficiary. Contributions to an ABLE account may qualify you for the Saver’s Credit. You may also be able to roll money from a 529 plan into an ABLE account.

Learn more about the tax deductions you can claim.

Form 1099-R, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc.

The 1099-R is very common for individuals who have income from a retirement account. You should receive a copy of 1099-R by January 31, 2020, from the account custodian, if you withdrew at least $10 from one of the following accounts:

You should usually report income from a 1099-R in box 1 of Form 1040, along with other income you earned from an employer.

Some retirement accounts do not require you to pay income tax when you withdraw funds in retirement, but you will still receive a 1099-R form. In particular, you will not pay income on distributions from a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k). Penalties from the early withdrawal of money from a retirement account are also reported on Form 1099-R.

You may also receive a 1099-R if you received income “in respect of a decedent.” This happens when someone passes away and you receive income that was meant for them. Income reported on a 1099-R in respect of a decedent includes retirement accounts, wages and salaries, interest and dividends, and just about all other income.

Form 1099-S, Proceeds From Real Estate Transactions

You will generally receive a 1099-S if you made at least $600 from the sale or exchange of real estate, including your home. Timber royalties that you make under a pay-as-cut contract may also result in a 1099-S. Expect your Form 1099-S by January 31, 2020.

Who sends you the form depends on the type of transaction. You may get it from a mortgage lender, the broker of a real estate transfer, or the person responsible for closing the transaction.

When you file your taxes, your income on a 1099-S is reported on Form 1040 Schedule D as capital gains. You most likely need to fill out Form 8949 as well. You may not have to pay tax on all the income on your 1099-S, though. For example, someone selling their main home can claim a deduction worth $250,000 (or $500,000 for joint filers) of the sale price, and so they may not actually have to pay capital gains tax on the sale.

Form 1099-SA, Distributions From an HSA, Archer MSA, or Medicare Advantage MSA

You should expect a copy of Form 1099-SA by January 31, 2020, if you used money in a health savings account (HSA), Archer MSA, or Medicare Advantage MSA. The account administrator is responsible for send your form.

Use the information on a 1099-SA to complete Form 8889. You won’t pay any taxes on this income as long as you used it on qualified medical expenses.

Form 1099-SB, Seller’s Investment in Life Insurance Contract

Form 1099-SB is used when someone sells their life insurance policy, but it’s primarily a form that a life insurance company would send to the IRS. This form allows the IRS to determine the value of a life insurance policy and how much the person selling the policy has invested in it.

Form RRB-1099, Railroad Retirement Board Statement

The Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) will send you a RRB-1099 form if it paid you retirement benefits during the year. On your taxes, you report it the same way as Social Security benefits, on line 5a of your Form 1040. Expect to get this Form by January 31, 2020, regardless of how much you made in RRB benefits.

You may also receive Form RRB-1099-R, which is treated the same way as Form 1099-R (mentioned earlier).

Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement

Everyone who received Social Security benefits from the IRS should expect a copy of SSA-1099 by January 31, 2020. Social Security Administration (SSA) handles all SSA-1099 forms, and you can also get a digital copy through a my Social Security account. When you file your tax return, the sum of these payments should go on line 5a of your Form 1040.

Learn more about Social Security payment schedules.

You will not receive this form if you received Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Noncitizens who live outside of the U.S. and either receive or repay Social Security benefits will instead receive a copy of SSA-1042S in the mail.

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