Recordkeeping. You should keep a list of the sources and investment income amounts you receive during the year. Also, keep the forms you receive showing your investment income (Forms 1099-INT, Interest Income, and 1099-DIV, Dividends and Distributions, for example) as an important part of your records.
Net investment income tax (NIIT).
You may be subject to the NIIT. The NIIT is a 3.8% tax on the lesser of your net investment income or the amount of your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) that is over a threshold amount based on your filing status.
Filing StatusThreshold Amount
Married filing jointly $250,000
Married filing separately $125,000
Head of household (with qualifying person) $200,000
Qualifying Widow(er) with dependent child $250,000
Generally, you must file Form 8615 if you:
have more than $2,200 of unearned income;
are required to file a tax return;
meet certain age/earned-income/self-support threshold;
have at least one parent alive at the end of the year; and
don’t file a joint return for the year.
See Form 8615 and its instructions for details.
However, the parent can choose to include the child's interest and dividends on the parent's return if certain requirements are met. Use Form 8814, Parents’ Election To Report Child’s Interest and Dividends, for this purpose.
For more information about the tax on unearned income of children and the parents' election, see Pub. 929, Tax Rules for Children and Dependents.
Beneficiary of an estate or trust. Interest, dividends, and other investment income you receive as a beneficiary of an estate or trust generally is taxable income. You should receive a Schedule K-1 (Form 1041), Beneficiary's Share of Income, Deductions, Credits, etc., from the fiduciary. Your copy of Schedule K-1 (Form 1041) and its instructions will tell you where to report the income on your Form 1040 or 1040-SR.
Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).
You must give your name and TIN (either a Social security number (SSN), and employer identification number (EIN), or an individual tax identification number (ITIN)) to any person required by federal tax law to make a return, statement, or other document that relates to you. This includes payers of interest and dividends. If you do not give your TIN to the payer of interest, you may have to pay a penalty or be subject to backup withholding.
TIN for joint account.
If the funds in a joint account belong to one person, list that person's name first on the account and give that person's TIN to the payer. (For information on who owns the funds in a joint account, see Joint accounts , later.) If the joint account contains combined funds, give the TIN of the person whose name is listed first on the account. This is because only one name and SSN can be shown on Form 1099.
These rules apply both to joint ownership by a married couple and to joint ownership by other individuals. For example, if you open a joint savings account with your child using funds belonging to the child, list the child's name first on the account and give the child's TIN.
Custodian account for your child.
If your child is the actual owner of an account that is recorded in your name as custodian for the child, give the child's TIN to the payer. For example, you must give your child's SSN to the payer of dividends on stock owned by your child, even though the dividends are paid to you as custodian.
Penalty for failure to supply TIN.
You will be subject to a penalty if, when required, you fail to:
Include your TIN on any return, statement, or other document;
Give your TIN to another person who must include it on any return, statement, or other document; or
Include the TIN of another person on any return, statement, or other document.
The penalty is $50 for each failure up to a maximum penalty of $100,000 for any calendar year.
You will not be subject to this penalty if you can show that your failure to provide the TIN was due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect.
If you fail to supply a TIN, you also may be subject to backup withholding.
Your investment income generally is not subject to regular withholding. However, it may be subject to backup withholding to ensure that income tax is collected on the income. Under backup withholding, the bank, broker, or other payer of interest, original issue discount (OID), dividends, cash patronage dividends, or royalties must withhold, as income tax, on the amount you are paid, applying the appropriate withholding rate.
Backup withholding applies if:
You do not give the payer your identification number TIN in the required manner;
The IRS notifies the payer that you gave an incorrect TIN;
The IRS notifies the payer that you are subject to backup withholding on interest or dividends because you have underreported interest or dividends on your income tax return; or
You are required, but fail, to certify that you are not subject to backup withholding for the reason described in (3).
Certification. For new accounts paying interest or dividends, you must certify under penalties of perjury that your TIN is correct and that you are not subject to backup withholding. Your payer will give you a Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, or similar form, to make this certification. If you fail to make this certification, backup withholding may begin immediately on your new account or investment.
Underreported interest and dividends.
You will be considered to have underreported your interest and dividends if the IRS has determined for a tax year that:
You failed to include any part of a reportable interest or dividend payment required to be shown on your return, or
You were required to file a return and to include a reportable interest or dividend payment on that return, but you failed to file the return.
How to stop backup withholding due to underreporting.
If you have been notified that you underreported interest or dividends, you can request a determination from the IRS to prevent backup withholding from starting or to stop backup withholding once it has begun. You must show that at least one of the following situations applies.
No underreporting occurred.
You have a bona fide dispute with the IRS about whether underreporting occurred.
Backup withholding will cause or is causing an undue hardship, and it is unlikely that you will underreport interest and dividends in the future.
You have corrected the underreporting by filing a return if you did not previously file one and by paying all taxes, penalties, and interest due for any underreported interest or dividend payments.
If the IRS determines that backup withholding should stop, it will provide you with a certification and will notify the payers who were sent notices earlier.
How to stop backup withholding due to an incorrect TIN.
If you have been notified by a payer that you are subject to backup withholding because you have provided an incorrect TIN, you can stop it by following the instructions the payer gives you.
Reporting backup withholding.
If backup withholding is deducted from your interest or dividend income or other reportable payment, the bank or other business must give you an information return for the year (for example, a Form 1099-INT) indicating the amount withheld. The information return will show any backup withholding as "Federal income tax withheld."
Generally, payments made to nonresident aliens are not subject to backup withholding. You can use Form W-8BEN, Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting (Individuals), to certify exempt status. However, this does not exempt you from the 30% (or lower treaty) withholding rate that may apply to your investment income. For information on the 30%-rate, see Pub. 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.
There are civil and criminal penalties for giving false information to avoid backup withholding. The civil penalty is $500. The criminal penalty, upon conviction, is a fine of up to $1,000, or imprisonment of up to 1 year, or both.
Where to report investment income.
Table 1-1 gives an overview of the forms and schedules to use to report some common types of investment income. But see the rest of this publication for detailed information about reporting investment income.
If two or more persons hold property (such as a savings account, bond, or stock) as joint tenants, tenants by the entirety, or tenants in common, each person's share of any interest or dividends from the property is determined by local law.
Community property states.
If you are married and receive a distribution that is community income, half of the distribution generally is considered to be received by each spouse. If you file separate returns, you must each report one-half of any taxable distribution. See Pub. 555, Community Property, for more information on community income.
If the distribution is not considered community property and you and your spouse file separate returns, each of you must report your separate taxable distributions.
You and your spouse have a joint money market account. Under state law, half the income from the account belongs to you, and half belongs to your spouse. If you file separate returns, you each report half the income.
Income from property given to a child.
Property you give as a parent to your child under the Model Gifts of Securities to Minors Act, the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act, or any similar law becomes the child's property.
Income from the property is taxable to the child, except that any part used to satisfy a legal obligation to support the child is taxable to the parent or guardian having that legal obligation.
Savings account with parent as trustee.
Interest income from a savings account opened for a minor child, but placed in the name and subject to the order of the parents as trustees, is taxable to the child if, under the law of the state in which the child resides, both of the following are true.
The savings account legally belongs to the child.
The parents are not legally permitted to use any of the funds to support the child.
U.S. Savings Bonds
This section provides tax information on U.S. savings bonds. It explains how to report the interest income on these bonds and how to treat transfers of these bonds.
U.S. savings bonds currently offered to individuals include Series EE bonds and Series I bonds.
Accrual method taxpayers. If you use an accrual method of accounting, you must report interest on U.S. savings bonds each year as it accrues. You cannot postpone reporting interest until you receive it or until the bonds mature.
Cash method taxpayers.
If you use the cash method of accounting, as most individual taxpayers do, you generally report the interest on U.S. savings bonds when you receive it.
Series HH bonds. These bonds were issued at face value. Interest is paid twice a year by direct deposit to your bank account. If you are a cash method taxpayer, you must report interest on these bonds as income in the year you receive it.
Series HH bonds were first offered in 1980 and last offered in August 2004. Before 1980, Series H bonds were issued. Series H bonds are treated the same as Series HH bonds. If you are a cash method taxpayer, you must report the interest when you receive it.
Series H bonds have a maturity period of 30 years. Series HH bonds mature in 20 years. The last Series H bonds matured in 2009. The last Series HH bonds will mature in 2024.
Series EE and Series I bonds. Interest on these bonds is payable when you redeem the bonds. The difference between the purchase price and the redemption value is taxable interest.
Series EE bonds. Series EE bonds were first offered in January 1980 and have a maturity period of 30 years. Before July 1980, Series E bonds were issued. The original 10-year maturity period of Series E bonds has been extended to 40 years for bonds issued before December 1965 and 30 years for bonds issued after November 1965. Paper Series EE bonds are issued at a discount. The face value is payable to you at maturity. Electronic Series EE bonds are issued at their face value. The face value plus accrued interest is payable to you at maturity. As of January 1, 2012, paper savings bonds are no longer sold at financial institutions.
Owners of paper Series EE bonds can convert them to electronic bonds. These converted bonds do not retain the denomination listed on the paper certificate but are posted at their purchase price (with accrued interest).
Series I bonds. Series I bonds were first offered in 1998. These are inflation-indexed bonds issued at their face amount with a maturity period of 30 years. The face value plus all accrued interest is payable to you at maturity.
Reporting options for cash method taxpayers.
If you use the cash method of reporting income, you can report the interest on Series EE, Series E, and Series I bonds in either of the following ways.
Method 1. Postpone reporting the interest until the earlier of the year you cash or dispose of the bonds or the year in which they mature.
Note. Series EE bonds issued in 1989 matured in 2019. If you have used method 1, you generally must report the interest on these bonds on your 2019 return. The last Series E bonds were issued in 1980 and matured in 2010. If you used method 1, you generally should have reported the interest on these bonds on your 2010 return.
Method 2. Choose to report the increase in redemption value as interest each year.
You must use the same method for all Series EE, Series E, and Series I bonds you own. If you do not choose method 2 by reporting the increase in redemption value as interest each year, you must use method 1.
U.S. Treasury Bills, Notes, and Bonds
Treasury bills, notes, and bonds are direct debts (obligations) of the U.S. government.
Taxation of interest. Interest income from Treasury bills, notes, and bonds is subject to federal income tax but is exempt from all state and local income taxes. You should receive Form 1099-INT showing the interest (in box 3) paid to you for the year.
Payments of principal and interest generally will be credited to your designated checking or savings account by direct deposit through the TreasuryDirect® system.
Treasury bills. These bills generally have a 4-week, 13-week, 26-week, or 52-week maturity period. They generally are issued at a discount in the amount of $100 and multiples of $100. The difference between the discounted price you pay for the bills and the face value you receive at maturity is interest income. Generally, you report this interest income when the bill is paid at maturity. If you paid a premium for a bill (more than face value), you generally report the premium as a section 171 deduction when the bill is paid at maturity.
If you reinvest your Treasury bill at its maturity in a new Treasury bill, note, or bond, you will receive payment for the difference between the proceeds of the maturing bill (par amount less any tax withheld) and the purchase price of the new Treasury security. However, you must report the full amount of the interest income on each of your Treasury bills at the time it reaches maturity.
Treasury notes and bonds. Treasury notes have maturity periods of more than 1 year, ranging up to 10 years. Maturity periods for Treasury bonds are longer than 10 years. Both generally are issued in denominations of $100 to $1 million and both generally pay interest every 6 months. Generally, you report this interest for the year paid. When the notes or bonds mature, you can redeem these securities for face value or use the proceeds from the maturing note or bond to reinvest in another note or bond of the same type and term. If you do nothing, the proceeds from the maturing note or bond will be deposited in your bank account.
Treasury notes and bonds are sold by auction. Two types of bids are accepted: competitive bids and noncompetitive bids. If you make a competitive bid and a determination is made that the purchase price is less than the face value, you will receive a refund for the difference between the purchase price and the face value. This amount is considered original issue discount. However, the original issue discount rules (discussed later) do not apply if the discount is less than one-fourth of 1% (0.0025) of the face amount, multiplied by the number of full years from the date of original issue to maturity.
Life insurance proceeds paid to you as the beneficiary of the insured person usually are not taxable. But if you receive the proceeds in installments, you usually must report part of each installment payment as interest income.
For more information about insurance proceeds received in installments, see IRS Pub. 525.
Interest option on insurance. If you leave life insurance proceeds on deposit with an insurance company under an agreement to pay interest only, the interest paid to you is taxable.
Annuity. If you buy an annuity with life insurance proceeds, the annuity payments you receive are taxed as pension and annuity income from a nonqualified plan, not as interest income. See Pub. 939, General Rule for Pensions and Annuities, for information on taxation of pension and annuity income from nonqualified plans.
State or Local Government Obligations
Interest you receive on an obligation issued by a state or local government generally is not taxable. The issuer should be able to tell you whether the interest is taxable. The issuer also should give you a periodic (or year-end) statement showing the tax treatment of the obligation. If you invested in the obligation through a trust, a fund, or other organization, that organization should give you this information.
Even if interest on the obligation is not subject to income tax, you may have to report a capital gain or loss when you sell it. Estate, gift, or generation-skipping tax may apply to other dispositions of the obligation.
Interest on a bond used to finance government operations generally is not taxable if the bond is issued by a state, the District of Columbia, a U.S. possession, or any of their political subdivisions. Political subdivisions include:
Toll road commissions,
Utility services authorities,
Community redevelopment agencies, and
Qualified volunteer fire departments (for certain obligations issued after 1980).
There are other requirements for tax-exempt bonds. Contact the issuing state or local government agency or see sections 103 and 141 through 150 of the Internal Revenue Code and the related regulations.
Obligations that are not bonds. Interest on a state or local government obligation may be tax exempt even if the obligation is not a bond. For example, interest on a debt evidenced only by an ordinary written agreement of purchase and sale may be tax exempt. Also, interest paid by an insurer on default by the state or political subdivision may be tax exempt.
Registration requirement. A bond issued after June 30, 1983, generally must be in registered form for the interest to be tax exempt.
Indian tribal government. Bonds issued after 1982 by an Indian tribal government (including tribal economic development bonds issued after February 17, 2009) are treated as issued by a state. Interest on these bonds generally is tax exempt if the bonds are part of an issue of which substantially all proceeds are to be used in the exercise of any essential government function. However, the essential government function requirement does not apply to tribal economic development bonds issued after February 17, 2009, for tax-exempt treatment. Interest on private activity bonds (other than certain bonds for tribal manufacturing facilities) is taxable.
Original issue discount. Original issue discount (OID) on tax-exempt state or local government bonds is treated as tax-exempt interest.
Stripped bonds or coupons. For special rules that apply to stripped tax-exempt obligations.
Information reporting requirement. If you must file a tax return, you are required to show any tax-exempt interest you received on your return. This is an information reporting requirement only. It does not change tax-exempt interest to taxable interest.
Dividends and Other Distributions
Dividends are distributions of money, stock, or other property paid to you by a corporation or by a mutual fund. You also may receive dividends through a partnership, an estate, a trust, or an association that is taxed as a corporation. However, some amounts you receive called dividends actually are interest income.
The most common kinds of distributions are:
Capital gain distributions, and
Most distributions are paid in cash (check). However, distributions can consist of more stock, stock rights, other property, or services.
Most corporations use Form 1099-DIV to show you the distributions you received from them during the year. Keep this form with your records. You do not have to attach it to your tax return. Your identifying number may be truncated on any paper Form 1099-DIV you receive.
Dividends not reported on Form 1099-DIV. Even if you do not receive a Form 1099-DIV, you must still report all your taxable dividend income. For example, you may receive distributive shares of dividends from partnerships or S corporations. These dividends are reported to you on Schedule K-1 (Form 1065) and Schedule K-1 (Form 1120S).
Nominees. If someone receives distributions as a nominee for you, that person will give you a Form 1099-DIV, which will show distributions received on your behalf.
If you receive a Form 1099-DIV that includes amounts belonging to another person.
Form 1099-MISC. Certain substitute payments in lieu of dividends or tax-exempt interest received by a broker on your behalf must be reported to you on Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, or a similar statement.
Incorrect amount shown on a Form 1099. If you receive a Form 1099 that shows an incorrect amount (or other incorrect information), you should ask the issuer for a corrected form. The new Form 1099 you receive will be marked "Corrected."
Dividends on stock sold. If stock is sold, exchanged, or otherwise disposed of after a dividend is declared but before it is paid, the owner of record (usually the payee shown on the dividend check) must include the dividend in income.
Dividends received in January. If a mutual fund (or other regulated investment company) or real estate investment trust (REIT) declares a dividend (including any exempt-interest dividend or capital gain distribution) in October, November, or December, payable to shareholders of record on a date in one of those months but actually pays the dividend during January of the next calendar year, you are considered to have received the dividend on December 31. You report the dividend in the year it was declared.
Ordinary dividends are the most common type of distribution from a corporation or a mutual fund. They are paid out of earnings and profits and are ordinary income to you. This means they are not capital gains. You can assume that any dividend you receive on common or preferred stock is an ordinary dividend unless the paying corporation or mutual fund tells you otherwise. Ordinary dividends will be shown in box 1a of the Form 1099-DIV you receive.
Qualified dividends are the ordinary dividends subject to the same 0%, 15%, or 20% maximum tax rate that applies to net capital gain. They should be shown in box 1b of the Form 1099-DIV you receive.
The maximum rate of tax on qualified dividends is:
0% on any amount that otherwise would be taxed at a 10% or 15% rate,
15% on any amount that otherwise would be taxed at rates greater than 15% but less than 37%, and
20% on any amount that otherwise would be taxed at a 37% rate.
Dividends that are not qualified dividends.
The following dividends are not qualified dividends. They are not qualified dividends even if they are shown in box 1b of Form 1099-DIV.
Capital gain distributions.
Dividends paid on deposits with mutual savings banks, cooperative banks, credit unions, U.S. building and loan associations, U.S. savings and loan associations, federal savings and loan associations, and similar financial institutions. Report these amounts as interest income.
Dividends from a corporation that is a tax-exempt organization or farmer's cooperative during the corporation's tax year in which the dividends were paid or during the corporation's previous tax year.
Dividends paid by a corporation on employer securities held on the date of record by an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) maintained by that corporation.
Dividends on any share of stock to the extent you are obligated (whether under a short sale or otherwise) to make related payments for positions in substantially similar or related property.
Payments in lieu of dividends, but only if you know or have reason to know the payments are not qualified dividends.
Payments shown on Form 1099-DIV, box 1b, from a foreign corporation to the extent you know or have reason to know the payments are not qualified dividends.
Capital Gain Distributions
Capital gain distributions (also called capital gain dividends) are paid to you or credited to your account by mutual funds (or other regulated investment companies) and real estate investment trusts (REITs). They will be shown in box 2a of the Form 1099-DIV you receive from the mutual fund or REIT.
Report capital gain distributions as long-term capital gains, regardless of how long you owned your shares in the mutual fund or REIT.
Effective December 22, 2017, section 1400Z-2 provides a temporary deferral of inclusion in gross income for capital gains invested in Qualified Opportunity Funds, and permanent exclusion of capital gains from the sale or exchange of an investment in the Qualified Opportunity Fund if the investment is held for at least 10 years. See the Form 8949 instructions on how to report your election to defer eligible gains invested in a Qualified Opportunity Fund.
Qualified Opportunity Investment. If you held a qualified investment in a qualified opportunity fund (QOF) at any time during the year, you must file your return with Form 8997, Initial and Annual Statement of Qualified Opportunity Fund Investments attached. See IRS Form 8997 instructions.
Undistributed capital gains of mutual funds and REITs. Some mutual funds and REITs keep their long-term capital gains and pay tax on them. You must treat your share of these gains as distributions, even though you did not actually receive them. However, they are not included on Form 1099-DIV. Instead, they are reported to you in box 1a of Form 2439.
IRS Form 2439 also will show how much, if any, of the undistributed capital gains is:
Unrecaptured section 1250 gain (box 1b),
Gain from qualified small business stock (section 1202 gain, box 1c), or
Collectibles (28%) gain (box 1d).
The tax paid on these gains by the mutual fund or REIT is shown in box 2 of Form 2439.
Increase your basis in your mutual fund, or your interest in a REIT, by the difference between the gain you report and the credit you claim for the tax paid.
A nondividend distribution is a distribution that is not paid out of the earnings and profits of a corporation or a mutual fund. You should receive a Form 1099-DIV or other statement showing you the nondividend distribution. On Form 1099-DIV, a nondividend distribution will be shown in box 3. If you do not receive such a statement, you report the distribution as an ordinary dividend.
Liquidating distributions, sometimes called liquidating dividends, are distributions you receive during a partial or complete liquidation of a corporation. These distributions are, at least in part, one form of a return of capital. They may be paid in one or more installments. You will receive Form 1099-DIV from the corporation showing you the amount of the liquidating distribution in box 8 or 9.
Any liquidating distribution you receive is not taxable to you until you have recovered the basis of your stock. After the basis of your stock has been reduced to zero, you must report the liquidating distribution as a capital gain. Whether you report the gain as a long-term or short-term capital gain depends on how long you have held the stock.
Stock acquired at different times. If you acquired stock in the same corporation in more than one transaction, you own more than one block of stock in the corporation. If you receive distributions from the corporation in complete liquidation, you must divide the distribution among the blocks of stock you own in the following proportion: the number of shares in that block over the total number of shares you own. Divide distributions in partial liquidation among that part of the stock redeemed in the partial liquidation. After the basis of a block of stock is reduced to zero, you must report the part of any later distribution for that block as a capital gain.
Distributions less than basis. If the total liquidating distributions you receive are less than the basis of your stock, you may have a capital loss. You can report a capital loss only after you have received the final distribution in liquidation that results in the redemption or cancellation of the stock. Whether you report the loss as a long-term or short-term capital loss depends on how long you held the stock.
You may receive any of the following distributions during the year.
Exempt-interest dividends you receive from a mutual fund or other regulated investment company, including those received from a qualified fund of funds in any tax year beginning after December 22, 2010, are not included in your taxable income. Exempt-interest dividends should be shown in box 10 of Form 1099-DIV.
Information reporting requirement.
Although exempt-interest dividends are not taxable, you must show them on your tax return if you have to file a return. This is an information reporting requirement and does not change the exempt-interest dividends to taxable income.
Alternative minimum tax treatment. Exempt-interest dividends paid from specified private activity bonds may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. The exempt-interest dividends subject to the alternative minimum tax should be shown in box 11 of Form 1099-DIV. See Form 6251 and its instructions for more information.
Dividends on insurance policies. Insurance policy dividends the insurer keeps and uses to pay your premiums are not taxable. However, you must report as taxable interest income the interest that is paid or credited on dividends left with the insurance company.
If dividends on an insurance contract (other than a modified endowment contract) are distributed to you, they are a partial return of the premiums you paid. Do not include them in your gross income until they are more than the total of all net premiums you paid for the contract. (For information on the treatment of a distribution from a modified endowment contract, see Distribution Before Annuity Starting Date From a Nonqualified Plan under Taxation of Nonperiodic Payments in IRS Pub. 575.) Report any taxable distributions on insurance policies on Form 1040 or 1040-SR, line 7b.
Dividends on veterans' insurance. Dividends you receive on veterans' insurance policies are not taxable. In addition, interest on dividends left with the Department of Veterans Affairs is not taxable.
Patronage dividends. Generally, patronage dividends you receive in money from a cooperative organization are included in your income.
Do not include in your income patronage dividends you receive on:
Property bought for your personal use, or
Capital assets or depreciable property bought for use in your business. But you must reduce the basis (cost) of the items bought. If the dividend is more than the adjusted basis of the assets, you must report the excess as income.
These rules are the same whether the cooperative paying the dividend is a taxable or tax-exempt cooperative.
Source of Information: IRS.gov