It may only amount to pocket change, but any interest you earn in your savings or checking account has to be reported as income on your tax return. In most cases your bank will send you a Form 1099-INT listing the total amount of interest payments you should report. The bank also sends a copy to the Internal Revenue Service, so think twice before leaving the earnings off your return.
Banks and other businesses are required to send you a Form 1099-INT if they pay you $10 or more in interest during the year. This includes interest on any type of personal account or investment account. Dividends from credit unions and savings and loan associations also are considered interest. While $10 is the threshold required by law, many banks will issue 1099s for any amount, even if it is less than $10.
Interest earned on a tax-deferred account generally will not be reported on a 1099-INT, because the interest is not taxable until it is withdrawn. Examples include interest earned on individual retirement accounts, medical savings accounts and educational savings accounts. Banks generally do not have to send 1099s to corporations, government entities or tax-exempt organizations such as churches or nonprofits.
Normally you will get your 1099 form by early February. Banks and other businesses are required to mail the forms by Jan. 31. If you gave your bank permission to send you the form electronically, it must be sent or made available to you by Feb. 1. If you use your bank's online account management feature, you've already given the bank permission to send you an electronic form as part of the online user agreement. When you file your tax return, you won't need to attach actual copies of your 1099 forms, as long as you correctly report the totals.
You normally report your taxable interest on the second line of your personal tax return, regardless of which form you use. If you have more than $1,500 in taxable interest, you'll have to use either form 1040 or 1040-A, along with Schedule B. When filling out Schedule B, you have to individually list the sources of all your interest income.
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