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.
You'll have a separate 1099-INT for each account you may have that pays you at least $10 in interest income.
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on a tax-deferred account generally will not be reported on a 1099-INT, because the interest is not taxable until it is withdrawn.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'll report your taxable interest on Line 2b of IRS Form 1040 (U.S. Individual Income Tax Return). If you have more than $1,500 in taxable interest, you'll also have to use Schedule B. When filling out Schedule B, you have to list the individual sources of all your interest income.
E-Filing 1099-INT Income
Whether you receive your 1099-INT on paper or electronically, you can e-file your tax return. You can access one digital option at eFile.com, which is an authorized IRS e-file provider. After you create your free account, you'll walk through a step-by-step process to file your tax return and include your 1099-INT income.
Report All 1099 Income
The IRS reminds taxpayers that they must report all 1099 income, even if the payer is not required to issue you a 1099 because the interest you receive is less than the $10 threshold requirement.
Alan Sembera began writing for local newspapers in Texas and Louisiana. His professional career includes stints as a computer tech, information editor and income tax preparer. Sembera now writes full time about business and technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Texas A&M University.