As a taxpayer, you never file a 1099 for anything. The 1099 forms are sent by businesses to report money they've paid to someone else -- $600 to a contractor or $10 in dividends, for example. If you get a 1099-INT in the mail for your savings account, the company's already sent in a copy to the IRS, so you don't have to. You do, however, report the income.
Banks, savings and loan associations, and credit unions use the 1099-INT to notify you and the IRS when you earn more than $10 interest for the year. Companies also use the form to report interest on life-insurance dividends and bond interest. If a company withholds taxes from your interest income, it must send you a 1099 even if you have less than $10 interest. Interest that doesn't fit into any of these categories -- on life-insurance death benefits, for instance -- triggers a 1099 only if it's more than $600.
If you get a 1099-INT for your savings account, the form shows your year's interest in Box One. If you have multiple accounts with the same bank, Box One shows the total interest for all of them. Any penalties you can deduct from your taxable income -- interest you lost by cashing in a CD early, for instance -- appear in Box Two. The other boxes report taxes withheld, tax-exempt interest and so on.
Interest on your savings account doesn't get special treatment. You report it as taxable interest on the front of your 1040, line 8a, and add it in with your wages, salaries, tips and other money to get your total taxable income. If you earned more than $1,500 in taxable interest, you also report it on Schedule B. If you received less than $10, you still report it as income, even though you won't get a 1099-INT.
Keep your 1099-INT and other records for three years. That's the statute of limitations on the IRS auditing you or asking for extra tax if you've accidentally underpaid. In a few situations, you should keep your 1099s longer. If you underreport income by 25 percent, the IRS can go back six years; for a fraudulent report there's no limit. If you don't file a return for a given year, the statute of limitations never kicks in.