What Is IRS Form 1099-DIV? Dividends and Distributions

If you received dividends this year, you'll probably get a Form 1099-DIV. Here's what it means and what to do.

Tina OremNovember 3, 2020
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Form 1099-DIV is a record that someone paid you dividends.

Sometime in February, you might receive a form 1099-DIV (or more than one). You need to hang on to it because it can have a big impact on your tax life. Here's how the 1099-DIV tax form works.

What is form 1099-DIV?

A 1099-DIV tax form is a record that a company or other entity paid you dividends. If you earned more than $10 in dividends from a company or other entity, you’ll receive a 1099-DIV.

  • The 1099-DIV is a common type of IRS Form 1099, which is a record that an entity or person — not your employer — gave or paid you money.

  • You might receive a 1099-DIV tax form from your brokerage firm because you earned dividends on your investments.

  • A Form 1099-DIV will have your Social Security number or taxpayer identification number on it, which means the IRS will know you’ve received dividends — and it will know if you don’t report that income on your tax return.

  • Dividends are taxable income, but simply receiving a 1099-DIV tax form doesn’t necessarily mean you owe taxes on that money. You might have deductions that offset the income, for example, or some or all of it might be sheltered based on characteristics of the asset that generated it. In any case, remember: The IRS knows about it.


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What do I do with a 1099-DIV tax form?

You use your IRS Form 1099-DIV to help figure out how much income you received during the year and what kind of income it was. You’ll report that income in different places on your tax return, depending on what kind of income it was.

If you need help estimating how dividend income on a Form 1099-DIV could affect your tax bill, check out our free tax calculator.

What does my 1099 tax form mean for my tax situation?

If you received a Form 1099-DIV from a brokerage firm or other entity because you have investments or accounts that earned dividends, you might also get a few other tax forms in the mail.

1099-CAP

You might receive a 1099-CAP if you hold shares of a corporation that was acquired or underwent a big change in capital structure and you got cash, stock or other property as a result.

1099-INT

If you earned more than $10 in interest from a bank, brokerage or other financial institution, you’ll receive a 1099-INT.

1099-OID

You might receive Form 1099-OID if you bought bonds, notes or other financial instruments at a discount to the face value or redemption value at maturity. Typically, the instrument must have a maturity of more than one year.

1099-PATR

If you belong to a co-op and received at least $10 in patronage dividends, expect to see Form 1099-PATR in your mailbox.

1099-R

If you got distributions from a pension, retirement plan, profit-sharing program, IRA or annuity, you might receive a 1099-R. (Remember, many retirement plans are tax-advantaged, so this form might be simple record-keeping on behalf of the IRS.) If you took a loan from your retirement plan, you might have to treat it as a distribution, which means it might be on this form, too, as well as permanent and total disability payments under life insurance contracts.

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