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IRS Form 1096

IRS Form 1096, Annual Summary and Transmittal of U.S. Information Returns, is somewhat unique, because it’s a form about other forms. Its purpose is to serve as a cover form when you have to file certain other tax forms, usually ones related to your status as an employer or trustee/custodian. You only use Form 1096 when filing by paper — there is a different procedure for electronic filing.

Form Design

Form 1096 has many boxes. Start by filling in the following identifying information:

  • Filer’s name
  • Street address
  • City, State, Zip
  • Name of person to contact
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • Fax number
  • Employer identification number
  • Social Security number
  • Total number of forms

Next, you’ll report tax information:

  • Federal income tax withheld
  • Total amount reported with this copy of Form 1096
  • An indication as to whether you are filing your final return

Pick a Box

What follows on Form 1096 is an array of 28 boxes, each one with a label and checkbox. Each box represents a different IRS form. Now here’s the kicker:  YOU ONLY CHECK ONE BOX FOR EACH COPY OF FORM 1096. Let that sink in. Theoretically, you might have to file 28 different copies of Form 1096, each with a different box checked, for each employee or client. That would be highly unusual, of course, but realistically you might have to fill out several forms per person.

After checking the appropriate box, you transfer the total amount from the indicated box on the other IRS form to the Form 1096 box for the total amount reported by this 1096 form. The following is the honor roll of forms and boxes:

Form W-2G Box 1
Form 1097-BTC Box 1
Form 1098 Boxes 1 and 2
Form 1098-C Box 4c
Form 1098-E Box 1
Form 1098-T None
Form 1099-A None
Form 1099-B Boxes 1d and 13
Form 1099-C Box 2
Form 1099-CAP Box 2
Form 1099-DIV Boxes 1a, 2a, 3, 8, 9, and 10
Form 1099-G None
Form 1099-H Box 1
Form 1099-INT Boxes 1, 3, 8, 10, and 11
Form 1099-K Box 1a
Form 1099-LTC Boxes 1 and 2
Form 1099-MISC Boxes 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 13, and 14
Form 1099-OID Boxes 1, 2, 5, 6, and 8
Form 1099-PATR Boxes 1, 2, 3, and 5
Form 1099-Q Box 1
Form 1099-R Box 1
Form 1099-S Box 2
Form 1099-SA Box 1
Form 3921 Boxes 3 and 4
Form 3922 Boxes 3, 4, and 5
Form 5498 Boxes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12b, 13a, and 14a
Form 5498-ESA Boxes 1 a
Form 5498-SA Box 1

So, for instance, if you had to fill out a copy of Form 1099-R for each of your clients, you’d check the box for that form and then transfer the amount from Box 1 of 1099-R to Form 1096. If your were required to file Form 1099-INT for those same, or different, clients, you would need to file additional copies of Form 1096, one per client, containing the appropriate checkmark and the total from the client’s Form 1099-INT boxes 1, 3, 8, 10, and 11. If this seems like a huge hassle, well, it is.

Filing Rules

You must file all copies of Form 1096 by the end of February. However, the due date for filing a Form 1096 that accompanies Form 5498 is June 1. If you fail to file in a timely manner, you might have to pay fines. If you file electronically using a service provider or software, make sure that the provider or software automatically prepares and transmits Form 1096 on your behalf. If you are filing 250 or more copies of Form 1096, you must file electronically.

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Erich J. Ruth

Erich J. Ruth provides technical support for National Software which is the parent company for 1099FIRE. 1099FIRE develops and markets a comprehensive range of products that enables any size of business or institution to effectively manage and comply with year-end filing requirements. 1099FIRE is an employee-owned company located in Phoenix, Arizona.

If you have any questions or comments about our software, feel free to contact us at any time.

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