Even though electronic tax filing season will begin January 20th this year, January 31 is the deadline for many of your “Important Tax Information” reports to be mailed to you. You may even have received some of them early. They truly are important for you, but they are a goldmine for identity thieves. That being said….get them out of your mailbox and into a safer place right away. The reason we are getting them in the first place is that they are also important to the IRS. The IRS gets copies of these forms too. If you happen to forget to include income on your return, don’t worry, the IRS will certainly be contacting you. A W-2 is the key form for employees. You need to report the wages you earned from each employer you worked for during the year. This form also reports the income taxes withheld from your earnings and other important information. A 1099-MISC is the key form for independent contractors or business owners. Much like the W-2 for employees, this is the form that businesses report total yearly payments of $600 or more to workers who are not considered employees. If you think you are an employee and get a 1099-Misc instead of a W-2, I’d like to consult with you. If your business has taken the steps to become a corporation or partnership, you may receive a W-2 or a K-1. Form K-1 is used by various entities to report earnings and other tax return related information. S-Corporations, Partnerships, Trusts and Estates use this form to “pass through” income and expenses to owners, partners and heirs. Your tax return cannot be completed until this K-1 is reviewed. If the business has filed an extension of time to file the business return, you may not get this form until close to, or even after, the April filing deadline for individual returns. If this is the case for you, you will need to file an extension for your individual tax return. A W-2G is used to report Gambling Winnings. There are different reporting requirements depending on the type of game you won. Just because you were the WINNER does not mean you are ahead “of the game” and had a profit. It means you had a WIN. To avoid an IRS inquiry, report ALL gambling winnings, whether or not you received a W2G. Be sure to keep a log of your Gambling Activity. See my blog on Gambling Winnings and Losses for more information. 1099-G is issued by states when you receive a tax refund of state or local taxes. This refund may or may not be fully taxable to you. Consult with your tax advisor. A separate form of this same number will also report unemployment benefits paid to you. Unemployment benefits received are income taxable and must be reported on your tax return. Next week we’ll cover more of the 1099 series of forms you need to watch for. We will also cover the newest of forms, the 1095A which has to do with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and your MarketPlace Premium Discount. The US Tax Code states all income is reportable except that which is specifically exempt from tax. Protect yourself from IRS audit by reporting all of your income.