Are you still waiting on tax forms? It can happen. While many forms are required to be sent out by specific dates, there are a lot of reasons why you might now have received your tax forms yet. But it's stressful - when you don't have all your forms you can't really file your taxes. And if you need your tax return, this could really hurt.
If you're thinking of filing before you get a certain form: DON'T. One of the biggest causes of errors is impatience. Just wait it out.
If you should have received a form already and haven't, then you should contact the company that was supposed to issue it.
When To Expect Your Tax Forms
Before we get started, here are the IRS requirements for sending out specific tax forms:
- W-2 Wages
- W-2G Gambling Income
- 1099-MISC Non-Employee Compensation
- 1099-INT Interest Income
- 1099-DIV Dividend Income
- 1099-C Cancellation of Debt Income
- 1099-G Government Payments such as Unemployment
- 1099-K Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions (i.e. Venmo and CashApp)
- 1099-R Distributions from Retirement Plans
- SSA-1099 Social Security Income
- 1098 Home Mortgage Interest
- 1098-E Student Loan Interest
- 1098-T Tuition Paid
The IRS required that the following forms be mailed out by February 15th:
- 1099-B Sales of Investments
- 1099-MISC for Attorney's Fees
However, some forms don't have a true requirement, such as a K-1 for partnership income. These forms typically don't arrive until March or April because the underlying company has to file their business tax return first (which is due in March without an extension). In fact, some K-1s may not even arrive until the fall because the company that sends them filed an extension.
Banks and Brokers Can Ask For An Extension
It's also important to note that banks and brokerage firms can ask the IRS for an extension to send you required tax forms. This typically happens if they're waiting on more information to provide you with a complete form.
For example, in 2023, many brokerage firms are asking for extensions to mail 1099s due to late tax changes and above-average income and dividend payments to shareholders.
Missing A W-2 Or 1099-MISC
If you're missing a form that shows your wages or income from freelance work, the first thing you need to do is look around and contact the issuer. Make sure that you check your email since many employers offer electronic forms and you may have missed it (maybe it was sent to the spam folder?). The next step is to contact them and ask them to reissue it.
For 1099-MISC forms, ask yourself if you even need to receive a form. If you're a freelancer who conducts a lot of online business, and are paid through a payment processor like PayPal, the business who contracted you isn't required to issue you a 1099. However, if they paid you directly via check or cash, they do have to issue a form.
Finally, if you still think you are missing a form, you can contact the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040. You'll need to have all your information, including your employers' information as well. Most of this information can be found on your last pay stub. If the employer still doesn't issue you a tax form, the IRS will provide you with a document to file that documents that you followed all the correct steps. However, you're not allowed to file this document early. So, if you are just wanting to get your refund early and don't want to wait - sorry to burst your bubble.
Missing An Investing Document
If you're missing an investing document, such as a 1099-DIV or 1099-B, many of the same rules apply. Contact your broker and see where the document is. Maybe you can access a digital copy of your document online.
There are two caveats with investing documents. First, some mutual funds, notes, REITs, and other investments can take extra time to report their income and distributions. Both the investment company, and your broker, can ask the IRS for extra time to file their tax documents and send them to you. This is a fairly regular occurrence, so don't be surprised.
Second, you need to be careful because sometimes your broker will make sure your form is issued on time, but then simply issued a corrected 1099 in March or April. Once again, this happens because certain funds and REITs may reclassify their distributions. To be safe, if you have a REIT, be sure to check with the company's website for the tax form. Check out our resource about REITs and 1099s.
Finally, some brokers will create a preliminary form for you to start your taxes with. However, it's not recommended that you use this form to file a tax return, but rather get started while you wait.
Missing A K-1 Partnership Document
If you own an MLP or other investment that will issue a K-1, these documents can take forever to be received. The reason is that these investments require that the company's tax return and books be completed before sending out any documentation. You see, you're a partner in this firm (however small your share is), and you're entitled to any income and deductions this firm is taking.
With many MLPs or alternative investments, there are a lot of obscure tax forms, tax credits, and deductions which must be taken into account first, before sending off the final versions to all investors. As such, these returns take time, and investors just have to wait.
However, most MLPs now make the K-1 available as soon as possible on their corporate websites. Investors should go to the "Investor Section" of the corporate website and see if they can electronically receive their K-1. This usually allows you to receive your K-1 several weeks earlier than normal.
Other Options To Take
Finally, if you still haven't received your tax forms, you simply have to wait and file an extension. Most of the major tax software programs will allow this pretty easily.
To be clear, the IRS specifically prohibits tax preparers from filing tax returns unless all W-2, W-2G, and 1099-R forms are received. Furthermore, filing without all the proper forms could trigger an audit.
If you're waiting for a refund, this could be annoying. But if you owe, filing an extension can at least help you avoid extra penalties.
However, remember, if you owe taxes, you must still pay your tax bill on April 15. If you pay the incorrect amount, the refund will be applied when you file your regular (now extended) return.
Have you ever had to deal with late tax forms?
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared toward anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
Editor: Clint Proctor Reviewed by: Claire Tak