What to do to fix this thorny problem
It is late February and you realize the Form 1099 you received is in error. In fact, it overstates your income by several thousand dollars. What should you do?
- Gather your facts. Put yourself in the shoes of the vendor, bank or investment company representative. Gather evidence they will need to support your claim to correct the tax form. This includes receipts, e-mails, and statements. Have your account number handy as well.
- Contact the vendor. Contact the vendor as soon as you discover the error and ask them to reissue the statement or provide you with a corrected form. Start with a phone call, then put your evidence in writing and send it to them via certified mail. Give the vendor a reasonable, yet concrete, time frame to correct the error. You do not want to wonder when a correction is coming, so keep control of the timing for a correction if at all possible.
- Written confirmation. If the vendor agrees with your change, ask for a letter from them that outlines the correction. File this letter with your tax return to help you defend against a potential audit.
- Tell the IRS. After a reasonable attempt to correct the error with no progress, contact the IRS to inform them of the failure to correct your information.
- File an extension? If you believe a correction is on the way, you may wish to file a tax extension. Remember, you will still need to pay any tax owed by the original due date. If you do not have assurance of a correction, file your tax return with correct information and provide documentation that outlines the reporting error.