[Updated for 2015-2016 tax season] Before we file our tax returns there are a number of forms we need to receive from our employers, financial institutions and other entities we make money from, conducted financial transactions or did business with. Below are estimated time frames for when we can expect to receive some of these common income tax forms.
Employer W-2. This is the most common form required at filing and is provided by your employer(s) to document your earnings for the calendar year. It outlines the taxes your employer withheld during the year and key compensation elements like your salary, bonus, retirement contributions and severance payments. For most people this tax form is the key one for filing your tax return. If you had multiple jobs in a year you will get multiple W-2 forms. That is, one per employer. Employers are required by law to provide (via mail or hand-delivered) a form W-2 by the end of January. If you have not received your W-2 shortly after this date contact your employer’s payroll or HR department to obtain a re-issued copy. You can also contact the IRS if not received by mid-February.
Also remember, a lot companies and organizations are moving to providing forms online rather than mailed. So check your employer HR Portal (like Workday or ADP.com) or online account to see if applicable tax forms can be downloaded from there.
Form 1098. You’ll receive this form if you paid interest on a home mortgage or student loan, paid college tuition or donated to charity. Look to get this form (Copy B) by the end of January as well. If you do not receive the form, contact the originating financial agency or charity and remind them that the IRS requires them to provide the form by January 31st.
As part of the affordable care act and the mandatory insurance requirement you will see a few new forms this year. It is important to file this or you could face a stiff penalty as the IRS. You should receive a form 1095-B for your employer sponsored health insurance coverage. Or if you bought insurance from a health care exchange you should file a form 8962 (Premium Tax Credit).
Form 1099 series (investment or unearned income). This family of tax forms is for reporting unearned income (i.e income that isn’t salary, wages or tips). It is the most widely used set of IRS forms by financial institutions to report their account holders tax obligations. There are several types of 1099 forms, including:
- 1099-DIV, which reports dividends, distributions, capital gains and federal income tax withheld from investment accounts (which include mutual and ETFs).You should get one of these forms from your mutual fund or brokerage institution. Vanguard, Fidelity and other major financial institutions have the key dates for receipt of tax forms on their websites. For example Vanguard is providing their forms by the mid January (I have already received mine for this tax year) . Fidelity has stated that most forms will be sent to account holders by mid February. The smaller brokers sometimes run late, but they are obligated to notify you of any delays in distributions of these forms.
- 1099-B. You’ll need this form to determine investment capital gains or losses. For mutual fund accounts, Form 1099-B reports all sales, exchanges, and redemptions (for non retirement accounts. For brokerage accounts, this form reports sales, mergers, bond maturities, and aggregate profits or losses on regulated futures contracts. These are normally sent in mid-February.
- 1099-INT keeps track of interest income you earn on investments such as fixed income investments like high yield or money market savings accounts. These are normally sent in mid-February.
- 1099-MISC documents self-employment earnings, as well as miscellaneous income such as royalties, commissions or rents. It covers all non-employee income that is not derived from investments. You’ll receive a 1099-MISC if you earned more than $600 from any one company while working as an independent contractor, consultant or freelancer within the tax year. These are normally sent in mid-February.
- 1099-R – This form report transactions from retirement accounts (including IRAs and employer-sponsored plans) such as distributions, removal of excess contributions, Roth conversions, IRA recharacterizations or rollovers, and federal and state tax withholding. The related form to this one is Form 5498 which provides contributions and conversion information for traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRAs, and Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRAs. These are normally sent in mid-February.
- 1099–SA reports taxable transactions for those who own a health savings account and took a distribution.
- 1099-Q is send to those who received a distribution from a 529 plan account.
Form 1042–S is mailed to nonresident alien investors. It reports dividends and short- and long-term capital gains for non-retirement accounts, and distributions from retirement accounts, including IRAs. The form also reports federal income tax withheld, referred to as nonresident alien withholding. This form normally takes more time than the others and you can expect it sometime in mid-March.
Most IRS reporting tax forms are required to be provided only for amounts of $10 or more, or if taxes have been previously withheld. However, you must report any investment income or distributions you receive to the IRS. While most of the above forms used to be only mailed, you can now also choose an eDelivery method. See this article for key IRS tax filing deadlines.