What Happens If You Misplace a 1099 Form

1099-MISC, tax form, taxes

The window of time to report last year’s income to the IRS is rapidly closing. One of the most important documents for getting your returns filed accurately and on time is Form 1099 — but what happens if you’ve looked in every nook and cranny of your house, every back corner of your email folders and just can’t find one that you know you should have?

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If you misplaced a 1099, there are still steps you can take to get to the information you need to file on time, but the hourglass is running out of sand — act now.

What Is Form 1099?

Form 1099 is actually a series of forms that the IRS refers to as “information returns.” Generally, the forms in the 1099 collection are used to document payments that people, businesses or other entities make to taxpayers who aren’t their employees.

It’s the payer’s responsibility to fill out and submit Form 1099, with copies going to both the IRS and to the recipient — which in this case is you — to document nonemployee compensation paid throughout the year.

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You might expect to receive a form from the 1099 series if you:

  • Received $600 or more in nonemployee compensation as a freelancer or independent  contractor
  • Received at least $600 in rent payments
  • Received at least $600 in royalty payments
  • Received a tax refund from your state or local government
  • Received gambling winnings
  • Earned gains from a brokerage account
  • Earned dividend income
  • Earned interest

What Are the Different Versions of Form 1099?

There are nearly two dozen forms in the 1099 series, including these common variants:

  • Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income
  • Form 1099-NEC, Nonemployee Compensation
  • Form 1099-B, Proceeds From Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions
  • Form 1099-DIV, Dividends and Distributions
  • Form 1099-INT, Interest Income
  • Form 1099-R, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc.
  • Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement

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What Do I Do If I Lost One?

If you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that your missing 1099 is going to stay missing, don’t panic — getting a new one isn’t like replacing a birth certificate.

“The first thing would be to contact the payer directly to see if a new or replacement 1099 can be issued,” said Anthony DeLorenzo, a certified public accountant (CPA) and tax expert with JustAnswer. “Most payers even have online accounts to retrieve these replacements directly. If this still does not result in a replacement, the IRS suggests that you contact them. The IRS will, in turn, contact the payer or employer on your behalf.”

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You can also go around the payer entirely and ask the IRS to send you a copy of its own records.

“If you are unable to obtain one that way, you can go to www.IRS.gov and request your transcript,” said Dawn Scott, certified public accountant and founder of The Empowered CPA.

“The transcript will tell you all of the information that would have been reported on the 1099.”

In reality, however, it’s already April and the IRS is notoriously sluggish.

“If you know that the form is already at the IRS, you can request a Wage and Income Transcript from the IRS, but it will usually take much more time than getting a copy from a client,” said Dmytro Serheeiv, tax consultant and co-owner of PDFliner.

1099 or No 1099, the IRS Wants Its Money

Losing critical documents is stressful and frustrating, but if you’re expecting empathy from the IRS, you’ve got the wrong organization.

“Whether you receive all of your 1099 forms or not, you are still required to report all your income when you file your tax return,” DeLorenzo said.

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So, how does a person report income without the document that catalogs the payment of that income?

“If a taxpayer doesn’t receive the missing or corrected form in time to file their tax return, they can use a last pay stub, check with Social Security Administration or the state to determine their pay,” said Mark Steber, chief tax information officer at Jackson Hewitt. “Then use Form 4852 to report this information on their federal tax return.”

Tax Day Is Just About Here — You Might Have To Delay Filing

As DeLorenzo said, many payers have online accounts and can email you a copy of your missing 1099 instantly. If you’re dealing with a snail mail client, however, it might be time to plan for a contingency.

“If you can’t get a copy before the due date of the return, file an extension to get additional time,” said Rob Burnette, CEO, financial advisor and professional tax preparer at Outlook Financial Center in Troy, Ohio.

But here, too, you’re not off the hook for paying the IRS what you owe.

“If you believe you will have a tax bill due, pay an amount you believe will cover the tax due to avoid or reduce late payment penalties and interest,” Burnette said. “The extension only gives you additional time to file and not additional time to pay.”

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About the Author

Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. An award-winning writer, Andrew was formerly one of the youngest nationally distributed columnists for the largest newspaper syndicate in the country, the Gannett News Service. He worked as the business section editor for amNewYork, the most widely distributed newspaper in Manhattan, and worked as a copy editor for TheStreet.com, a financial publication in the heart of Wall Street's investment community in New York City.
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