How To Prepare Form 1096

When you're running your own business, you'll have to submit Form 1096, the Annual Summary and Transmittal of U.S. Information Returns, every year. This shows the totals from other information returns you may be filing to the IRS and must be submitted no later than the end of February each year. While compiling a summary of the forms you're going to submit anyway might seem tedious to some, it is necessary to ease the IRS' facilitation of tax forms. Here are a few tips on how to make the process easier for everyone involved:

1. Check to see if you've issued any of the following forms, or variations of these forms, during the course of your business:

  • Form 1098
  • Form 1099
  • Form 5498
  • Form W2-G

These are the most common forms summarized by Form 1096. You can also double-check which ones you'll need to summarize on the IRS website,, or by obtaining a copy of Form 1096 itself. Businesses usually issue such forms if they:

  • receive payments for mortgage interest
  • pay interests
  • cancel debts
  • receive real-estate proceeds and/or pay long-term care benefits

A certain version of Form 1099, Form 1099-MISC, is issued to report payments of $600 or more rent and/or payments to other individuals.


2. Get a separate Form 1096 for each of the types of forms you're summarizing. If, for example, you're filing three 1099-MISCs, a Form 1099-R, and a Form 5498, you'll have to obtain three 1096s.

Make sure you get the scannable red Form 1096 from the IRS. Submitting a non-scannable form, like a printed copy from the internet, may subject you to a $50 fine. 


3. Fill in your name, address, phone number and Employer Identification Number (EIN). If you don't currently have an EIN, your Social Security number will do.


4. Indicate the kind of form being summarized by ticking its corresponding box at the bottom of your Form 1096. Remember that you can tick only one type of form per summary.


5. Enter the total number of forms being summarized in item 3. For example, if you're filing seven 1099-Rs, write "7" on item three.


6. Compute the total amount of any federal taxes withheld from payment on the forms being summarized and enter it in item four.


7. Calculate the total amount of payment on the forms being summarized by your Form 1096 and write in on item 5.


8. Double-check if all the information is correct. Any personal information listed on your Form 1096 should match the information listed on the forms being summarized.


Sign your Form 1096 and submit it along with the forms being summarized to a nearby IRS field office. You can find one via the IRS website or by looking up the addresses on the second page of your Form 1096. If you're submitting 250 or more forms, you're going to have to file them electronically. Don't forget to enter your title and date the form. You've now filed your Form 1096!


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