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What To Do With Your 1099

Types of 1099's and General Tax Rules

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What do I do with my 1099? Do I have to file it with my taxes? Why did I receive a 1099? Does this mean I owe taxes? There are more than a dozen different types of 1099 forms but the most common 1099 forms are generated from investing activities, such as dividends, capital gains and retirement account (IRA, 401k, 403b) distributions. The most common types of 1099's received by investors include 1099-R, 1099-DIV, 1099-INT and 1099-Q.

1099-R: This form is required to be sent to you from the custodian of a retirement account, such as an IRA, annuity, pension, profit sharing plan or 401(k) plan, when you've had a distribution of some kind during the tax year. Keep in mind that a distribution does not necessarily mean a cash withdrawal. Put simply, a distribution means that money was moved out of the account. Examples of types of distributions include a partial or full cash withdrawal, an IRA rollover or a 1035 exchange from an annuity. If your distribution is a direct rollover from an employer-sponsored plan, such as a 401(k), you generally do not owe taxes and should also receive Form 5498 explaining it as such.

1099-DIV: This form is sent to an investor from a mutual fund company to show a record of all dividends and capital gains paid to the investor during the taxable year. Some investors can get confused with form 1099-DIV because they may not have received any form of cash payment from any dividends or capital gains during the year. For regular brokerage accounts that are not tax-deferred the mutual fund may have capital gains when the fund manager sells a stock at higher price than it was purchased, which generates mutual fund capital gains, which are then passed on to the investor. These gains are usually reinvested in the fund but they are still gains that are taxable. In tax-deferred accounts, such as IRAs, 401(k)s and annuities, there is no current taxable event, therefore no 1099-DIV is sent to the investor.

1099-INT: This form is sent from institutions, such as banks, to account holders that received interest payments of at least $10 during the tax year. Interest, not to be confused with dividends, is most common in bank savings accounts, Certificates of Deposit, and money market accounts. Interest is added to earned income on the 1040 tax filing form to arrive at total income for the year so it must be reported to the IRS.

1099-Q: This form is sent to investors who received a distribution from a Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) or Section 529 Plan. Generally, taxpayers do not need to pay taxes on distributions that are less than or equal to qualified education expenses.

Tip On Tax Filing: 1099 forms are generally sent to both the IRS and to the individual tax payer from the institution (i.e. mutual fund company or bank) who distributed the dividend, capital gain, interest or cash withdrawal. Therefore it is not always required for the individual to send their copy to the IRS with their tax filing. However it is necessary to retain the 1099s and other documents that provide supportive evidence of your taxable and non-taxable activity. In other words, investors should be prepared for tax audits, which will require documentation of your tax filings.

Disclaimer: Consult with your tax specialist about proper tax filing requirements. You may also visit IRS.gov for standard filing procedures. The information on this site is provided for discussion purposes only, and should not be misconstrued as investment advice. Under no circumstances does this information represent a recommendation to buy or sell securities.

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