It’s Federal Income Tax Time, here in America. The due date for filing your income taxes, and the dreaded Form 1040 is, as usual, April 15th. (Next year, you’ll get two extra days thanks to April 15 being on Saturday.)
But, before you can file your income taxes, you’ll need all the forms and information you need to file. For most taxpayers, the main document you need is a Form W2 from your employer. The W2 form reports not only your wages, but also the amounts that were withheld from your paycheck during the year.
If you don’t have an employer, or if you do paid work on the side, you’ll need to collect Form 1099-MISC from all of your client that paid you more than $600 during 2015. Unfortunately, for people like freelance writers, that means you may have to track down some former clients, especially if you moved and didn’t notify them of your new address. Unlike regular employee types. There is usually no withholdings to report on a 1099 form.
W2 and 1099 Deadlines
If you are wondering when the deadline is to get your W2 form or 1099 form, the answer is a little tricky. For Form W2, the employer is required to “furnish” you a copy by January 31, 2016. But, before you get up in arms, if you don’t have it on the 31st, the employer is considered to have met the furnish requirement if the form is properly addressed and mailed by the 31st, and since the 31st is on a Sunday this year, the actual requirement is February 1st for the forms to be mailed.
For a 1099 Form, the deadline is the same. Your clients, and former clients, are required to furnish your forms (mail them) by February 1st, 2016. There is an exception if you money is reported in boxes 8 or 14, but that isn’t common for most small business owners and freelancers.
What If I Don’t Get a W2 or Form 1099?
Just because you don’t get a W2 Form or a 1099-MISC Form doesn’t mean that you do no have to report the income. If you didn’t get a W2 from your employer, call down to HR. They probably have a process in place, especially if it is a larger company.
If you did not get a 1099 Form for your small business, you don’t actually have to get it. As long as you report all of your income, it doesn’t have to match up with the 1099 forms that you get. However, it can trigger all sorts of red alerts if you claim less income than gets reported on the 1099 forms. Don’t forget, the IRS gets a copy of all 1099-MISC forms with your Social Security number, or EIN, on them.
What if your client was not an American company? (There may be different rules for non-American employers. I do not know them. You’ll need to find that information elsewhere. Start with the IRS website.)
For a client that is not an American company, they are not going to fill out and submit a form that the American Internal Revenue Service requires. You are still supposed to report the income even if you don’t get a form. Just don’t bother waiting for it, because it isn’t coming.