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We've had two questions about revised 1099s causing the OPs' tax liabilities to change after they had filed. One of them is here; the other was a duplicate.

We've had this happen to us regularly. We expect two revised 1099s from our brokerage firm each year (two accounts), and we plan on getting revised 1099s. Occasionally we even get a revision to the revision. We don't file until we get the revised 1099s. Having to wait to get the income tax filed and out of our hair is annoying, but no worse than annoying.

What, specifically, causes the necessity to revise a 1099? I can understand how the sweeping revisions to the tax law could make this year's 1099s later than usual and also subject to revision, but this has happened for many years.

  • Are your investment holdings more complicated than basic bond and equity mutual funds and ETFs (for example: oil & gas or real estate partnerships, etc)? – RonJohn Jun 2 at 15:50
  • What you said, plus stocks, some of them foreign, and MLPs. – ab2 Jun 2 at 15:55
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    It's certainly downrange problems which are causing the brokerage to issue corrected 1099s. – RonJohn Jun 2 at 16:14
  • What changed between the original and revised 1099's? – The Photon Jun 2 at 16:51
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    Oh, I'm surprised. When I've gotten revised 1099's it's been something more subtle, like foreign tax paid. – The Photon Jun 2 at 18:12
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RonJohn asked the right question in a comment, and this just a development of the same notion.

Forms 1099 are supposed to be issued by January 31 while for limited partnerships etc, Schedules K-1 sent by the general partner to the limited partners have a later deadline (March 1? March 15?) for issuance. So, if you are holding such assets in a brokerage account, the brokerage might well be needing to revise Forms 1099 after they have been issued so that the new information is reflected on them.

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The first major change that can occur would be on your side, specifically whether the dividends are qualified or not. Qualified dividends must meet certain holding-period requirements. The investor must own the stock for more than 60 days during the 121-day period beginning 60 days before the ex-dividend date (that is, the cutoff date after which an investor who purchases shares in the stock isn’t entitled to collect a dividend payment for that dividend period). If the stock is held for less than 61 days, the investor must pay ordinary income tax rates on the dividends. If you had not held the stock long enough before the 1099 was issued, then once you have held it long enough, then your form can be updated.

In particular, if you do a form of dividend reinvestment (often called a DRIP), especially with securities that pay monthly dividends, these may take some time to age up to qualified dividends for your 1099.

Secondly, some of the more complicated business types, like REITs, BDC, Partnerships, and similar, get to make some decisions about the types of dividends they return. Some are ordinary income, some are return of capital, and some are qualified dividends. Even more fun, I am pretty sure that companies have up to 3 fiscal years to re-file and change the nature of dividends, should they wish. All of the above, have tax implications for the business and the individual filer.

In short, the status of dividends can change, and a reissued 1099 tried to get it a right as they can at that time, but it is certainly possible that they will continue to change in the future.

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