If you get money from a retirement plan, IRA, annuity or a similar arrangement, you will likely receive a tax form called a 1099-R. IRS 1099 requirements say that you must be sent the form if someone paid you a distribution of $10 or more from such an account. File the form with your taxes. If you neglect to do so, you may have to file an amended return and potentially pay a penalty and interest. If you don't get a 1099-R, contact the organization that should send it to you and, if need be, the IRS.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
If you forget to include a 1099-R on your tax return, file an amended return and pay any additional tax you owe as soon as possible.
1099 Requirements and Filing Obligations
1099 tax forms are issued for various types of payments you might receive during the tax year. For example, freelance workers and other independent contractors often receive Form 1099-MISC specifying how much they earned during the year. People receiving dividend payments from stocks or other investments get Form 1099-DIV. Interest income from bank accounts and other sources is spelled out on Form 1099-INT. People receiving distributions from retirement plans, IRAs, pensions and annuities generally receive Form 1099-R.
Companies that don't send 1099s can face IRS penalties. If you receive a 1099, you're generally required to transfer that information to your tax return when you file. Follow the instructions on your tax return form or in your tax preparation software, or work with your tax preparer to transfer the information to the right place on your return.
If you do neglect to include information from a 1099 on your tax return or otherwise underreport by not reporting 1099 income, you may be required by the IRS to pay interest and penalties. If you discover a mistake, you should file an amended return using IRS Form 1040X. Pay any additional tax as soon as you can to stop accruing interest.
In some cases, the IRS may contact you about missing forms such as 1099 forms since the IRS also receives copies of these forms from whoever issued them. If that occurs, follow IRS instructions about whether you need to file an amended return or can simply agree with the IRS's findings and pay any additional tax. Generally, you also don't need to file an amended return if the IRS comes across an error as part of a tax audit.
You may also need to amend your state income tax returns. Check with your state tax agency to find out the right procedure and forms.
If You Don't Receive 1099s
If you don't get 1099 forms that you know you should receive based on your own records, contact the organization that is supposed to issue them. If you still have trouble getting the forms, contact the IRS for help. Generally, you should receive the forms by the end of February.
If you still don't receive your 1099 forms, you must still file your taxes and pay anything that is due. If you don't receive the forms, use your own records to complete IRS Form 4852. Include the form with your tax return. If you file using a copy of Form 4852 and later discover that the information you put on that form was incorrect, then amend your return using Form 1040X.
2018 Tax Law
Tax law changes for 2018 generally won't affect who will send you a 1099-R or what to do if you don't receive one. Changes in tax brackets may affect how much you're required to pay on retirement plan distributions.
2017 and Earlier Tax Years
If you're amending a return from 2017 or earlier, remember to use the tax rules for that year to compute your taxes, even if you're filing in 2018 or later after new tax rules have gone into effect.
Steven Melendez is an independent journalist with a background in technology and business. He has written for a variety of business publications including Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, Innovation Leader and Ad Age. He was awarded the Knight Foundation scholarship to Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.