What Is Form 1099-G?

Form 1099-G Explained

A woman tries to file her taxes while her boyfriend relaxes on the couch behind her

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If you get certain income from the government, like unemployment benefits, you may receive a Form 1099-G in the mail. A 1099-G is a type of 1099 form that government agencies use to tell the IRS about specific payments they made during the tax year. If you receive a Form 1099-G, you’ll need to use the information on it to prepare your tax return.

In this article, we’ll cover some common scenarios where you could receive a Form 1099-G, as well as where to get the form, what to do if you haven’t received it, and how to use it.

Definition and Examples of Form 1099-G

Form 1099-G, officially titled Certain Government Payments, is a type of 1099 form that’s used to report some types of income you receive from the government—the “G” stands for government. One of the most common reasons for receiving a 1099-G is that you received jobless compensation.

If you received unemployment benefits, you have to pay taxes on them. A recent Jackson Hewitt survey found that 39% of people didn’t know that unemployment benefits are taxable.

Another scenario where you could receive Form 1099-G is when you received a state or local tax refund, credit, or offset. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll owe taxes—you’ll only need to report that money on your tax return if you received a federal tax deduction for paying those taxes in a previous year.

A screenshot of Form 1099-G

Who Uses Form 1099-G?

Federal, state, and local governments file this form when they make payments for:

  • Unemployment compensation
  • State or local income tax refunds, credits, or offsets
  • Reemployment trade adjustment assistance payments
  • Taxable grants
  • Agricultural payments

If you received any of the forms of income listed above from the government, you’ll receive a Form 1099-G. You should expect a separate form from each agency that made a payment.

With massive job losses and approximately 13.3 million people reporting that they are unable to work as of February 2021, an unprecedented number of taxpayers will likely receive Form 1099-G for 2020.

Where to Get a Form 1099-G

If you didn’t receive payments from the government that could count as taxable income, you shouldn’t receive a 1099-G. But most taxpayers who received such payments can expect to receive Form 1099-G in the mail. You may also be able to view and download the form online, depending on the state or agency. Forms are usually sent out by the end of January. 

If you receive a 1099-G form for unemployment benefits you didn’t receive, you could be the victim of identity theft. Report the potential fraud to the state agency that paid the benefits and follow its instructions.

What to Do If You Don’t Receive a Form 1099-G

If you received unemployment benefits or other income that would be reported on a 1099-G but haven’t received the form, contact the agency that made the payment. You may be able to access your form online, or the agency may provide other instructions. 

However, if you were unable to access the information by the May 17 tax deadline, you’re still responsible for filing a tax return. You can estimate the payments made to you, as well as any taxes that were withheld. If you receive the missing information after you’ve filed and discover a discrepancy, you’ll need to file an amended tax return.

How to File Form 1099-G

You won’t need to file Form 1099-G along with your tax return, but you will use the information included on this form to file your taxes. Using tax filing software is typically the best way to ensure your return is accurate. You’ll enter the information from Form 1099-G, along with any other tax forms you received, and the software will calculate how much of your income is taxable and whether you owe taxes.

Once you’ve filed your return, store Form 1099-G with your other tax records. As with all tax records, you’ll want to hold onto the form for a minimum of three years.

If you discover that you owe taxes but can’t afford to pay them, file a tax return anyway and ask for an IRS payment plan. 

Other Types of Form 1099

A 1099 form is used to report income that you don’t receive from an employer. While receiving a 1099 form doesn’t necessarily mean that you owe money on that income, it’s essential that you use the information it contains when you prepare your tax return.

The form includes your Social Security number or employee tax identification so the IRS will know you received the income. Some common types of 1099 forms include:

Form 1099-A, Acquisition or Abandonment of Secured Property

You’ll receive Form 1099-A if you owned property that was foreclosed on. Your lender will mail you the form, and you’ll have to treat the foreclosure as a capital gain or loss. 

1099-C, Cancellation of Debt

If you had debt that was forgiven or canceled, it will count as taxable income. You’ll receive Form 1099-C from each creditor that forgave a balance of $600 or more.

1099-DIV, Dividends and Distributions

Form 1099-DIV is used to report dividends and capital gains during the tax year, and you’ll only receive one if you earned dividends or gains in a taxable account.

1099-INT, Interest Income 

You’ll receive Form 1099-INT if you received interest payments of more than $10 from your bank or credit union.

1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income

You’ll receive a 1099-MISC if you received various sources of income, such as incentive payments if you’re a salesperson, prizes or awards, jury duty payments, or taxable damages from a lawsuit. The form is also used to report rents paid, medical and attorney payments, and various transactions pertaining to agriculture and fishing. Prior to 2020, companies often used this form to report payments to freelancers and independent contractors.

1099-NEC, Nonemployee Compensation

In 2020, the IRS started using Form 1099-NEC instead of Form 1099-MISC for companies reporting nonemployee compensation. If you’re a freelancer or an independent contractor, you’ll receive Form 1099-NEC from any company that paid you more than $600.

1099-R, Retirement Distributions

Form 1099-R is used to report distributions of $10 or more from retirement accounts. You’ll receive a Form 1099-R when any distribution occurs, even if it’s not a taxable event.

1099-SSA, Social Security

The Social Security Administration sends a 1099-SSA to all benefit recipients with the total amount of Social Security benefits they received for the year.

Key Takeaways

  • Form 1099-G is a type of 1099 form that’s used to report certain government payments, most commonly unemployment benefits and state or local tax refunds.
  • If you get a Form 1099-G, you need to use it when you prepare your tax return.
  • Most people who receive this type of income will receive this form in the mail.
  • You’re still responsible for filing a tax return by May 17, 2021, even if you haven’t received your 1099-G.