What Is a 1099 R Tax Form?

Taking a distribution from a retirement plan during the year
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A 1099-R is a type of tax form that you will receive if you have taken a distribution from a retirement plan during the year. Depending on the type of distribution you took, the amount shown on your 1099-R may or may not be taxable. You must report figures from a 1099-R when you file your taxes.

Form 1099-R

Internal Revenue Service Form 1099-R reports distributions from pensions, annuities, retirement or profit-sharing plans, individual retirement accounts, insurance contracts and other retirement plans. The form consists of 17 boxes that provide information such as the amount of the distribution, any federal, state or state taxes withheld and identifying information on both the payer and the recipient. The form also shows a code that identifies the type of distribution that was made, such as a normal distribution or an early distribution.

Information Returns

A 1099 form is a type of tax form that the IRS refers to as an information return. In addition to reporting this income to you, employers or institutions that pay you a retirement plan distribution must submit a copy of Form 1099-R to the IRS as well. The IRS uses this information to match what you enter when you file your tax return. If the numbers do not match, the IRS will ask you to make a correction to ensure that you are paying tax on any income you receive.

Taxation of 1099-R Distributions

Most distributions from retirement plans are taxable as ordinary income. A few major exceptions include qualifying distributions from a Roth IRA and rollovers from one plan to another. Whether or not the distribution is taxable, the amount of the distribution must appear in box one of Form 1099-R. Sometimes the issuing financial institution will also enter the taxable amount in box two, but many times it will simply check the box marked "taxable amount not determined." Regardless of how your Form 1099-R is filled out, the data may or may not be accurate based on your personal tax situation. For example, a firm may mark a distribution as taxable if they do not know that you rolled it over into another tax-advantaged account. In this situation, if you report the distribution as taxable you will end up paying tax twice on the same amount.

Use With Tax Filing Forms

Form 1040 is one of the three main tax filing forms, along with Form 1040A and Form 1040EZ. If you are reporting income from a Form 1099-R, you must use either Form 1040 or Form 1040A, as Form 1040EZ cannot accommodate a 1099-R entry. For Form 1040, the total amount of your 1099-R distribution goes on line 15a and the taxable amount goes on line 15b. For Form 1040A, enter the total distribution amount on line 11a and the taxable amount on line 11b.