Tax forms. Yay. But not getting the proper forms before you file will get you a note from the IRS …
Mid-April is often a stressful time in our household. It's when my mother-in-law's birthday is.
(Just kidding. My mother-in-law and I get along great.)
It's stressful because that's when taxes are due! I have gotten a whole lot better recently about getting them done on time, without taking advantage of the extension process. And, to be fair, I'm thankful that I pay taxes, because that means I have income.
Tax forms, all around
About this time of year (or even before) envelopes with the lettering “Important Tax Documentation Enclosed” start arriving.
Businesses don't send these tax forms out just because they're wanting to be helpful. They're doing so because they get in trouble if they don't. There are deadlines for sending numerous tax forms both to taxpayers and to the IRS.
Most of the common ones are required to be sent out (in paper form or electronically) by end of January or the very beginning of February. So if you're not getting them by mail, then you probably have access to them online in your accounts' dashboards because you agreed to receive them electronically at some point.
Tax forms: The biggies
These are the tax forms you'll want to make absolutely sure you have before cracking out H&R Block software to get those taxes done:
- Form W-2. This is where most workers' income is reported: wages, salaries, tips, etc. This one is so important that the IRS tells you to attach a copy to your return if you're mailing it in. If you don't have one, scream and holler until you get it.
- Form 1095-A. This form states the time over the previous year that you were covered by qualifying health insurance, so as to avoid the non-coverage penalty. Over at HealthCare.gov they implore you not to file until you have an accurate 1095-A. So that's pretty important.
- Form 1099-INT. Interest income is reported here (if not on a consolidated 1099). They're not required to file with the IRS if the amount is less than $10, so only the fortunate ones with more than $10 in interest from a bank, credit union, or brokerage will get this.
- Form 1099-DIV. Dividend income is reported here (if not on a consolidated 1099). Like the 1099-INT, they're not required to file with the IRS if the amount is less than $10, so only the fortunate ones with more than $10 in dividends from a particular brokerage will get this.
- Form 1099-B. For capital gains and losses (if not on a consolidated 1099).
- Form 1099-MISC. Miscellaneous income for creative types who get royalties, or side hustle gig people who aren't officially employees of the companies they're gigging for. If royalties are involved (think book sales on Amazon or streams on Spotify) the threshold for reporting is $10. If it's compensation (like being an Uber driver) then it's $600.
- Form 1099-G. This form (primarily) reports state tax refunds from the previous filing year, because under certain conditions it's income on this year.
- Forms 1099-R and 5498. For retirement account distributions and contributions, if you have such things and have done such things.
- Form 1098. Homeowners: This has your mortgage interest so you can deduct it. Yay! If you refinanced, or had your mortgage sold, then you'll likely get more than one Form 1098. (Our mortgages got passed around this year like the flu, so between our two properties we'll get five 1098's, I think!)
- Statements of charitable contributions. If you donated $250 or more to a charity in a given year, they must send you a letter stating the amount so that you have proof of the deduction.