“When should I file my 1099s?” Seems like an easy question, right? There are deadlines that you need to meet, so as long as you meet them you are doing well. The end. Of course, everyone out there is a little different. Some reading this post are owners of small businesses. Others are accountants. Others work in accounts payable departments in large organizations. To add to the confusion, don’t forget that some deadlines changed this year (thanks Congress!). So let’s consider the original question in a little more depth.
Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines
First, the deadline for notifying recipients has not changed. You need to postmark or e-deliver the form to your recipients by January 31. There are two important deadline updates that we covered in an earlier post.
All other filing dates for the IRS remain the same. Generally, paper files are due February 28, e-files are due March 31.
When should I file?
As early as possible! I know, all the bookkeepers and accountants are rolling their eyes and saying, “tell my clients!” And it’s true. You rely on your clients to enter data, and they are often not as attuned to the deadline pressures as you are.
Would they tune in to penalties? You could mention that late filings fall into penalty areas for the IRS. The maximum penalty for late filing can reach $260 per form. That’s something that could catch your clients’ attention.
If you prefer carrots to sticks, you could mention that forms will arrive earlier the earlier they can be submitted. Two billion forms, including W-2’s and 1099-MISC forms, are filed each year. Many of those forms are still delivered via the USPS. Unlike for Christmas, the post office doesn’t ramp up temporary staff to deliver tax forms. So, the earlier you get the forms submitted, the more likely they are to miss the mail bulge in the first week of February.
A good submission date to shoot for is the week before the due date. Of the forms filed through Tax1099.com, about 60% of the form are submitted in the final week. Each day, the volume gets heavier.
Check to see what the latest time you can submit and still postmark the forms is. We usually ask you to submit forms by midnight the day before the deadline if you want to request our USPS service.
What do the big guys do?
Many of our larger filers are in Accounts Payable departments in large organizations. They work out a year-round process to collect, maintain, and validate contractor data. When filing time comes, the large filers have most of the data they need.
This year, some of our users will file form 8809. This form gives an automatic 30-day extension of time to file 1099-MISC forms to the IRS. Some larger organizations file for the extension each year. This year, we suspect many more clients will take advantage of the 8809 form in Tax1099.com.
Keep in mind that you need to file the 8809 by the filing deadline. Not to beat a dead horse, but the deadline is January 31 for box 7 amounts on the 1099-MISC.
The W-2 is no longer eligible for an automatic extension. You can submit a signed and written version of the 8809 to attempt to receive an extension for the W-2 form.
Still, an early start is the best policy. Filing early gets your forms out earlier. Filing early also gives you a chance to make edits before the e-File deadline in some cases. If you find out after the e-file deadline that a form needs a correction, you can file that online, too. And if you can’t file early, remember the deadlines and stay in compliance.