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What is IRS Form 1096: Everything You Need to Know

February 20, 2021
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What is IRS Form 1096: Everything You Need to Know

IRS Form 1096 Key information

  • Form 1096 is used to summarise the information returns of tax forms W-2G, 1098, 1098-E, 1098-T, 1099-A, 1099-C, 1099-CAP, 1099-DIV, 1099-G, 1099-H, 1099-INT, 1099-LTC, 1099-MISC, 1099-NEC, 1099-OID, 1099-PATR, 1099-Q, 1099-R, 1099-S, 1099-SA, 3921, 3922, 5498, 5498-ESA, and/or 5498-SA
  • Form 1096 needs to be submitted only when the tax returns were filed to the IRS in paper form.
  • Do not file Form 1096 if you used e-filing services or IRS FIRE system.
  • Form 1096 should be filed for each tax form submitted- do not send one Form 1096 for more than one type of information returns.
  • The general due date to submit Form 1096 is February 28, but the due dates may vary.
  • Form 1096 has to be scannable; submitting photocopies of the original will not be accepted.

What is IRS Form 1096?

Internal Revenue Service Form 1096, Annual Summary and Transmittal of U.S. Information Returns, is a form used to summarize the information returns of tax forms 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, or W-2G a company in the United States sent to other recipients.

You need to file this form to provide details to the IRS based on those seven different types of information returns you submitted in paper form. Someone who has received income from the transaction has most probably received one of the forms mentioned above.

For example, suppose during a tax year, you worked with one independent contractor who has been paid $1,000 and another one $5,000. In that case, you will need to send them and the IRS Form 1099-NEC (Non-Employee Compensation), which was previously a part of Box 7 in the Form 1099-MISC (for reporting tax until 2020).

If you submitted several types of information return forms, you would need a separate Form 1096 for each of them. For example, if you had two independent contractors who you sent 1099-NEC this tax year and one 1099-R form for retirement payments, you will need to file two separate Annual Summaries, one for each type of the form.

Keep in mind the Form 1096 is sent to the IRS only if you had previously submitted Forms in paper. If you submitted the forms via e-file, you don't need to file a Form 1096.

Who needs to file IRS Form 1096?

Any company that has filed a type of information returns to the IRS with Forms 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498, or W-2G by mail and in paper needs to file a Form 1096 to summarize the Transmittal of U.S. Information Returns.

If you have more than 250 of any type of form, you must file the type of information return electronically. If the total amount is less than 250, you can either send it by mail or file electronically.

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Where to get a copy of IRS Form 1096?

The IRS is scanning the incoming forms and therefore needs the companies to submit the scannable forms; this means only the official documents are accepted. Photocopies of the original forms will not be accepted. IRS has a dedicated website page where you can order forms and publications and receive them by mail. Alternatively, you can get the forms at office supply stores or via tax preparation software, if you're using one.

Where to mail IRS Form 1096?

The mailing address depends on your principal business location. A Form 1096, along with all Copy As of the respective paper information returns should be sent to the IRS office according to the state where your business' principal location. You can find more information on where to file forms on a dedicated IRS website page. You can find this information on Page 2 of the instructions on the Form 1096 PDF, as well.

What is the due date to file Form 1096?

Most information returns, as well as Form 1096, should be sent to the IRS by February 28 of the year following the tax year. That means you should submit the forms by February 28, 2021, for the tax year 2020. The due date for submitting a copy of an information return to the non-IRS recipient is usually January 31 of the year following the tax year you are reporting.

Keep in mind that due dates can vary, and submission can happen anywhere between January 31 and May 31. It would be best to check the complete list on the General Instructions for Certain Information Returns page.

How to fill in IRS Form 1096?

When filing Form 1096, you need to pay attention to the information you are putting in. Here's a breakdown of all the fields.

  • Start by filling in general information such as name and full address (city or town, state or province, country, and ZIP or foreign postal code) in the Filer's section. You should also provide information about the person to contact: name, phone number, fax number, and email address.
  • Fill in Box 1 with your EIN (employer ID number) or Box 2 with your SSN (social security number)- if you don't have an Employer Identification Number.
  • State the total number of forms you are summarizing in Box 3. Keep in mind this number should be the total number of forms of a single type of form.
  • Enter the total federal income tax withheld on all the forms you are summarizing in Box 4. If you didn't withhold any federal tax, don't leave this box empty but enter a zero.
  • Enter the total amount of reported payments on all the forms you are summarizing in Box 5. Again keep in mind the total amount should be calculated for a single type of form you are submitting.
  • Mark the type of form you are submitting the summary for. If you are submitting 1099-NEC forms, enter an X under it in Box 6.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal, tax, or any other advice. Always check the official Internal Revenue Service website for more information.