Advertisement
taxes

Tax Forms You Need to File Your Return

You need the following forms to verify income, deductible expenses and charitable gifts when filing your income tax return.

Question: What tax forms should I be receiving before tax-filing season, and when should I expect to get them?

Answer: Your employer should be sending your Form W-2 to you by the end of January. In the next few weeks you should also be on the lookout for other forms that provide key information for filing your taxes.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Most of these forms report payouts and must be sent to you by January 31, although a few have a February 15 deadline, such as Form 1099-DIV and Form 1099-B, says Steven Hamilton, an enrolled agent with offices in Chicago and Spring Hill, Fla., who is authorized to represent taxpayers before the IRS. Once you receive these forms, gather other documents that show whether any portion of the payouts should be tax-free and keep them in your tax records. Here are some of the key forms:

Form 1099-MISC. This form reports “nonemployee compensation,” such as freelance income, income from work as an independent contractor or rental income. You should receive a 1099-MISC from everyone who paid you $600 or more in 2018.

1099 forms from bank and investment accounts. You should receive a 1099-INT reporting interest earned from a bank account, a 1099-DIV from your brokerage firm with the amount of dividends paid to you, and, if you sold stocks or mutual funds in 2018, a 1099-B for investment sales reporting capital gains.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

Form 1099-R. This form reports distributions from retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and IRAs, as well as Roth IRA conversions and direct rollovers from a 401(k) to an IRA. Not all of this money is taxable. For example, a qualified rollover from one IRA to another, or from a 401(k) to an IRA, will be tax-free. If that’s the case, you’ll report the gross distribution amount from the 1099-R on your Form 1040 when you file your income tax return, but you’ll write “$0” for the taxable amount.

Also, if you’re 70½ or older and transferred money from your IRA directly to charity (up to $100,000 per year), then this “qualified charitable distribution” is not taxable. Subtract the QCD from the taxable distributions when filling out the line for the taxable amount on your 1040, and keep records from the charity acknowledging your contribution. Seen Reporting an RMD to Charity on Your Tax Return for more information about the procedure.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Form 1099-SA. This form shows how much money was withdrawn from a health savings account during the tax year, but it doesn’t specify whether the distributions were tax-free withdrawals for eligible expenses. You have to submit Form 8889 and designate whether the money was used for eligible medical expenses, says Hamilton, the enrolled agent. Keep records of your health care expenses so you’ll have evidence that those withdrawals are tax-free.

Form 1099-Q. Total distributions from 529 accounts or Coverdell education savings accounts are reported on this form. Gather documentation of qualified expenses in your tax files so you can prove which portion of the money should be tax-free. If you made some withdrawals that were not for eligible education expenses, see IRS Publication 970 for more information about calculating the portion that is taxable.

Form 1098. This reports how much mortgage interest you paid during the year. If you’re taking the standard deduction in 2018 rather than itemizing (now that the standard deduction has nearly doubled from last year), you may not be deducting mortgage interest, but Hamilton recommends keeping the form anyway. You may, for example, need the form if you decide to amend your return. See the IRS’s Tax Reform Basics for Individuals and Families for more information about how the new tax law changed the rules and limits for deducting mortgage interest for 2018.

For more information about these and other tax forms you may be receiving soon, see Tax Forms That Can Accidentally Increase Your Tax Bill.

Advertisement

Most Popular

HSAs Get Even Better
Financial Planning

HSAs Get Even Better

Workers have more options with flexible spending accounts, too.
July 2, 2020
Find a Great Place to Retire
happy retirement

Find a Great Place to Retire

Our cities provide plenty of space to spread out without skimping on health care or other amenities.
July 2, 2020
What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2020 vs. 2019?
tax brackets

What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2020 vs. 2019?

The IRS unveiled the 2020 tax brackets, and it's never too early to start planning to minimize your future tax bill.
June 20, 2020

Recommended

20 IRS Audit Red Flags
tax returns

20 IRS Audit Red Flags

There's no sure way to avoid an IRS audit, but these red flags could increase your chances of drawing unwanted attention from the IRS.
July 1, 2020
10 IRS Audit Red Flags for Retirees
retirement

10 IRS Audit Red Flags for Retirees

Watch out: These things can increase the chances that the IRS will give your tax return a closer look.
July 1, 2020
Is There an Unclaimed Tax Refund Waiting for You?
tax refunds

Is There an Unclaimed Tax Refund Waiting for You?

The IRS has $1.5 billion in refunds from 2016 waiting to be claimed. Is any of that money yours?
July 1, 2020
IRS Is Not Extending the Tax Deadline Again
tax deadline

IRS Is Not Extending the Tax Deadline Again

Tax Day 2020 was already pushed back from April 15 to July 15, but it won't be delayed further.
June 30, 2020