IRS Form 1096 Instructions

Many small businesses may be issuing informational returns for the first time this year. If this is the case, you may not know how to send certain tax forms to the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS requires all paper tax forms to be accompanied by IRS Form 1096, Annual Summary and Transmittal of U.S. Information Returns.

In this article, we’ll break down this tax form so you can better understand what’s required, including:

  • How to complete IRS Form 1096
  • Filing requirements
  • Frequently asked questions

Let’s start with an overview of the tax form itself.

How do I complete IRS Form 1096?

This one-page tax form is relatively straightforward. Let’s start at the top with the taxpayer information fields.

Taxpayer information

At the top of the form, you’ll enter the taxpayer information fields for the filer. For small business owners, this should be the contact information for the principal business.

For a sole proprietor, you may need to use your personal information in these fields.

Filer’s name & address

Enter the name and address for the business. Include any room or suite number if your address normally includes one.

Name of person to contact

Enter the name of the business’ point of contact.

Telephone number

Enter the phone number where the point of contact may be reached during normal business hours.

Email address

Enter an appropriate email address.

Fax number

Enter a fax number, if your business uses a fax machine.

irs form 1096 taxpayer information

Lines 1 through 6

Below the contact information fields, you’ll enter the appropriate information for each type of tax form.

If you are filing different IRS information return forms, then you must file a separate Form 1096 for each type of information return. Also, if you file information returns electronically, then you do not need to use a Form 1096 to accompany them.

Let’s start with Line 1.

Line 1: Employer identification number

If your business has an employer identification number (EIN), enter it here. If you do not have an EIN because you are a sole proprietor, you may enter your Social Security number in Line 2, instead.

Applying for an employer identification number

Most small business owners eventually should obtain an EIN. You can apply for an EIN through the IRS website or by filing IRS Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Watch this video to learn more about filing Form SS-4 to obtain an EIN

Line 2: Social Security number

If you entered an EIN in Line 1, you may skip Line 2. Do not enter both an EIN and a Social Security number (SSN) on the same Form 1096.

Otherwise, enter your SSN in Line 2.

Taxpayers who do not have an SSN or who need to replace their Social Security card may do so by filing Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card.

Use the same EIN or SSN on Form 1096 that you use on any of the following:

Line 3: Total number of forms

Enter the number of forms you are transmitting with this Form 1096. If you are submitting multiple transmittal documents, only include the total from this group.

Do not include blank or voided forms, or the Form 1096 itself in your total. Enter the number of correctly completed forms, not the number of pages, that you are transmitting.

For example, let’s imagine that you are sending copies of IRS Form 1098-E, Student Loan Interest Statement. If you send one page of three-to-a-page Forms 1098-E with a Form 1096 and you have correctly completed two Forms 1098-E on that page, enter “2” in Box 3 of your Form 1096.

irs form 1096, lines 1 through 5

Line 4: Federal income tax withheld

Enter the total federal income tax that you withheld, as shown on the forms being transmitted with this Form 1096.

Line 5: Total amount reported with this Form 1096

Enter the total amount that you are reporting with this transmittal.

However, there are certain forms that do not require Line 5 to be completed. We’ll break down these forms, as well as the other forms, so that you understand exactly what information to enter into Line 5.

Tax forms that do not require Line 5 to be completed

Do not complete Line 5 for the following tax forms:

Tax forms that require Line 5 to be completed

You must complete Line 5 for the tax forms listed below.

The following tables breaks down the information from each form that you should use to calculate the Line 5 amount. We’ve broken the entire list of tax forms down into several tables for your convenience.

Forms 1098
Form numberBox number
IRS Form 1098, Mortgage Interest StatementBoxes 1 & 6
IRS Form 1098-C, Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and AirplanesBox 4c
IRS Form 1098-E, Student Loan Interest StatementBox 1
IRS Form 1098-F, Fines, Penalties, and Other AmountsBox 1
IRS Form 1098-Q, Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract InformationBox 4
Forms 1099
Form numberBox number
IRS Form 1099-B, Proceeds from Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions1d & 13
IRS Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt2
IRS Form 1099-CAP, Changes in Corporate Control and Capital Structure2
IRS Form 1099-DIV, Dividends and Distributions1a, 2a, 3, 9, 10, & 12
IRS Form 1099-INT, Interest Income1, 3, 8, 10, 11, & 13
IRS Form 1099-K, Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions1a
IRS Form 1099-LS, Reportable Life Insurance Sale1
IRS Form 1099-LTC, Long Term Care and Accelerated Death Benefits1 & 2
IRS Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Information1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, & 14
IRS Form 1099-NEC, Nonemployee Compensation1
IRS Form 1099-OID, Original Issue Discount1, 2, 5, 6, & 8
IRS Form 1099-PATR, Taxable Distributions Received From Cooperatives1, 2, 3, & 5
IRS Form 1099-Q, Payments from Qualified Education Programs1
IRS Form 1099-QA, Distributions from ABLE Accounts1
IRS Form 1099-R, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc.1
IRS Form 1099-S, Proceeds from Real Estate Transactions2
IRS Form 1099-SA, Distributions From an HSA, Archer MSA, or Medicare Advantage MSA1
IRS Form 1099-SB, Seller’s Investment in Life Insurance Contract1 & 2
Other information returns
Form numberBox number
IRS Form W-2G, Certain Gambling Winnings1
IRS Form 1097-BTC, Bond Tax Credit1
IRS Form 3921, Exercise of an Incentive Stock Option Under Section 422(b)3 & 4
IRS Form 3922, Transfer of Stock Acquired Through An Employee Stock Purchase Plan Under Section 423(c)3, 4, & 5
IRS Form 5498, IRA Contribution Information1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12b, 13a, & 14a
IRS Form 5498-ESA, Coverdell ESA Contribution Information1 & 2
IRS Form 5498-QA, ABLE Account Contribution Information1 & 2
IRS Form 5498-SA, HSA, Archer MSA, or Medicare Advantage MSA Information1

Line 6

In Line 6, you’ll enter an ‘X’ in exactly one box, to indicate the type of form that you are sending with this summary document.If you need to submit different types of information returns, then you must complete Form 1096 for each information return.

For example, you may be sending paper submissions for both IRS Forms 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Information, and IRS Forms 1099-NEC, Non-Employee Compensation. You must send your 1099-MISC forms with one Form 1096, and you must send your 1099-NEC forms with another Form 1096.

irs form 1096, line 6

How do I file IRS Form 1096?

Once you’ve completed the form, you must submit it to the Internal Revenue Service, along with the accompanying forms. Each type of information return has a different filing deadline, which we’ll cover below.

Filing deadlines for information tax returns

The filing deadline differs for each type of return. If a due date falls on a weekend or a legal holiday, either in the District of Columbia or where the return is to be filed, then the filing deadline falls on the next business day.

The following are due dates for the form to be submitted to the IRS. Taxpayer copies of these tax forms have different due dates, which you may find in the General Instructions for Certain Information Returns, on the IRS website.

January 31

The following tax forms are due to the IRS by January 31:

  • IRS Form 1099-NEC

February 28

The following tax forms are due to the IRS by February 28:

  • IRS Forms 1097
  • IRS Forms 1098
  • IRS Forms 1099
    • Except for Form 1099-NEC
  • IRS Form 3921
  • IRS Form 3922
  • IRS Form W-2G

Leap years do not impact the due date of information returns due on February 28.

May 31

The following tax forms are due to the IRS by May 31:

  • IRS Forms 5498

Where to file information returns

The mailing address where you should send your tax return depends on which state your business is located in. Below is a breakdown of where each taxpayer should file, grouped by IRS center.

Austin location

Taxpayers from the following states should send their information returns to the Austin mailing address, located below:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia

Also, business owners located overseas should send their information returns to the Austin address. The mailing address for the Austin IRS office is:

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 149213
Austin, TX 78714-9213

Kansas City location

Taxpayers from the following states should send their information returns to the Kansas City mailing address, located below:

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee,
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

The mailing address for the Kansas City IRS office is:

Internal Revenue Service Center
P.O. Box 219256
Kansas City, MO 64121-9256

Ogden location

Taxpayers from the following states should send their information returns to the Ogden mailing address, located below:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • West Virginia

The mailing address for the Ogden IRS office is:

Internal Revenue Service Center
1973 North Rulon White Blvd.
Ogden, UT 84201

Specific filing instructions

Below is specific filing guidance from the form instructions:

  • Group the forms by form number and transmit each group with a separate Form 1096.
  • Do not send a form (1099, 5498, etc.) containing summary (subtotal) information with Form 1096.
    • Summary information for the group of forms being sent is entered only in Boxes 3, 4, and 5 of Form 1096.
  • Do not staple information returns to each other or to Form 1096
  • Do not submit Copy A from any of the returns listed below. Instead, you must order copies from the IRS website or use appropriate tax preparation software to generate them:
    • Form 1096
    • Form 1098
    • Form 1099
    • Form 3921
    • Form 5498
  • Do not send Form 1096 to report electronic submissions
    • Form 1096 is for paper copies of information returns only

Video walkthrough

Check out this brief video to learn more about completing IRS Form 1096.

Frequently asked questions

What is IRS Form 1096 used for?

IRS Form 1096 is a transmittal document that summarizes information returns you file with the IRS, such as Forms 1099-INT or Forms 1099-DIV. IRS Form 1096 is required as a cover sheet to accompany paper copies of tax forms, but not electronic submissions.

Can I print IRS Form 1096 from the IRS website?

The Form 1096 that you can download from the IRS website cannot be used for filing purposes, since this format is incompatible with the IRS’ optical scanning software. You must order compatible versions of Form 1096 from the IRS website.

What is the penalty if I miss the filing deadline for IRS Form 1096?

The tax penalty for missing the filing deadline depends on how late you file. The penalty ranges from $60 per information return for late submissions received by the IRS within 30 days of the due date to $310 per return for required forms received after August 1.

Where can I find IRS Form 1096?

For informational purposes, we’ve enclosed the latest version of IRS Form 1096 from the IRS’ official website here. However, the IRS strongly states that you may not use this version for transmittal purposes.

For a useable version of IRS Form 1096, you must use compatible tax preparation software or order the form from the IRS website.

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