Besides my W2 and 1099's, what other types of income do I need to report?

Income that is indicated on a W-2 or 1099 may not be the only income that you receive. Other types of income must also be noted on your tax return. The minimum income level that triggers a filing requirement varies with your age, filing status and the type of income you receive. These levels are set by the IRS and can change each year. The requirement to file a tax return is usually tied to your age, income level and filing status.

In general, if you receive only W-2 income you don’t have to file a return as long as your income falls below the filing threshold for your age and filing status. Income that is reported on a 1099 frequently has a lower filing threshold. Income which you do not receive one of these forms for may include:

  • Alimony or spousal support that is part of a divorce or separation agreement finalized before January 1st (unless the agreement has been modified to include the updated IRS policy regarding the taxability of spousal support).
  • Bartering income
  • Cancelled debt (You may receive one or more of the following forms for cancelled debt, which the IRS sometimes considers taxable income and requires you to report: 1099-C, 1099-A, 982)
  • Cash wages that you receive for work, even if you do not receive Form 1099. This includes casual labor such as babysitting, lawn care, house cleaning, haircutting, personal services, odd jobs, handyman services and all other income you earn.
  • Foreign earned income and your foreign earned income exclusion. Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad may be helpful for reporting this income.
  • Fringe benefits like a car you or someone in your family gets to use that is owned or given by an employer or someone else. You must report fringe benefits whether or not you are the employee of the benefit provider.
  • Gambling winnings (You may receive Form W-2G for this income but you should report the income even if you do not get the form.)
  • Hobby income
  • Household employee income you earn as a nanny, maid, personal assistant, gardener or any other type of domestic employee. You must report this income whether or not your employer withholds taxes.
  • Installment Sale Income (Form 6252)
  • K-1 Earnings
  • Payments from Qualified Education Programs (You should receive Form 1099-Q showing these payments.)
  • Prisoner earned income, even if payment was received in the form of credits.
  • Rental income
  • Sale of Business Property
  • Sale of virtual currency
  • Section 1256 income (Form 6781)
  • Taxable portions of scholarships or grants, including Pell Grants
  • Tip income

What income is reported on your W-2 and what income is not?

Occasionally income may not be reported on your W-2. You are responsible for reporting this income.

You will most likely receive a Form W-2 from your employer showing the amounts of certain income you received:

  • Taxable wages and salaries earned as an employee
  • Taxable bonus income
  • Taxable employment benefits
  • Deferred compensation
  • Some or all of your tip income
  • Some types of income you receive as a shareholder in an S-corporation
  • Earned income that is not subject to income tax withholding (including contributions to an employer-sponsored retirement plan)
  • Other compensation and reductions from your taxable income

Each of your employers from the previous tax year should send you a W-2 form. If you have more than one form, you will need to enter the items individually. If you received a corrected, railroad or substitute W-2, be sure to enter the corrected information.

Employers must give or send forms to employees by January 31st each year. However, this may not show all of the taxable income you received. Different forms are used to report many other common types of income, including:

  • Wages earned as an independent contractor, statutory employee, self-employed worker, gig worker, casual laborer, sole proprietor or other non-employee arrangements
  • Partnership distributions
  • Income from trusts and estates
  • Pensions, annuities and distributions from retirement savings accounts
  • Social security benefits
  • Gambling winnings
  • Interest, dividends, capital gains distributions and other investment income
  • Cancelled debt
  • Health Coverage Tax Credit Advance Payments
  • Distributions from qualified education savings accounts
  • Distributions from health savings accounts, Archer MSA and Medicare Advantage MSA
  • Merchant card and third-party network payments
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Rebates and incentives (you may or may not receive a form reporting this income)
  • Rents and royalties
  • Other income that did not have federal taxes withheld

For other types of income, you may not receive any form at all. You must still report the income on your tax return in some cases:

  • Bartering income – You must report this income on your tax return
  • Alimony or spousal support – You may or may not need to report this income
  • Child support – Do not report this income on your tax return (but you may be required to include it as income if you are applying for financial aid or another type of means-tested federal, state or local assistance).
  • Gifts – Do not report this income on your tax return (but you may need to count it as income if you are applying for financial aid or other means-tested federal, state or local assistance). Monetary gifts above the gift threshold are taxable to the giver, not the recipient.

Be sure you have received all the appropriate forms and included all taxable income before submitting your tax return. If you need to report additional income after you have submitted your original tax return, you must file an amended return.


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