Form 1096 FAQ

The Internal Revenue Service publishes various forms every year. These forms are mailed to the IRS in order to report some or the other information. There are some forms, however, which are used to report other forms. That is, they act as covering documents for various other forms. Hence, if you have queries about what is Form 1096 and what is it used for, then the answer is simple and straight forward. Form 1096 is used to report and cover the attachments, that are included in the 1099 series. The 1096 is thus, often referred to as a compilation form.


There are three situations where a Form 1096 needs to be filled. Firstly, the form needs to be filled if any person or organization is filling any of the 1099 series forms. Some of these include, Forms 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, 5498 or W-2G. Again, if any person or organization is mailing the forms physically, they need to submit the Form 1096. In cases where a charity or non-profit organization is exempted from income tax, it is mandatory to fill Form 1096. In case of electronic filling, there is no need to fill the 1096.

Time Limit for Filing

As per Form 1096 instructions, there are two-time frames for filling the 1096, depending on the other forms that they cover.

  • In case if the 1096 covers Forms 1099, 1098, or W-2G, then the time limit to fill is March 2nd; or
  • In cases where it is accompanying Forms 5498, 5498-ESA, or 5498-SA, then it can be filled by 1st June, or
  • If it is being filed with Forms 1097, 1098, 1099, 3921, 3922, or W-2G, then the dead line is February 28, 2012; or
  • If it is being filled with Form 5498, then May 31, 2012, is the dead line.

Note: Deadlines are often subject to changes, hence stay in touch with the IRS website for notifications


The Form 1099 series and some other forms, report additional information, due to which they are also called information returns. These returns are filed in order to disclose to the IRS any kind of income that is not included within your regular wage or salary. In several cases this income may also arise or accrue after certain specified time period or may be observed just once in a while. Apart from that, these incomes are not always taxable. The 1099 series presents this sort of information. The 1096, acts as a covering document for the same. That is, it consists of a small list of the forms that have been filled.

Filling Procedure

Filling the Form 1096 is an extremely simple task; all you needed to do is put together the other forms that you would be filing and several personal details such as fax number, social security number and Federal income tax withheld. The actual title of the form is Annual Summary and Transmittal of U.S. Information Returns and the form is divided into two parts, the first part consist of a list of other form names followed by small boxes, and second part consists of a set instructions and guidelines. All you need to do is put a small ‘x’ in the box next to the form which you are filling, fill in the personal information and your form is ready.

Please note that this form, though small and seemingly insignificant, is an extremely important document. Your income tax return is a set of documents, hence in case where a document or form is misplaced, Form 1096 is the way to trace it. Therefore, make it a point to keep a track of when and how this particular form has to be filled, and also the dates within which the entire procedure has to be done.