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Context: I am not an US citizen nor do I live in the US (I live in Europe).

4 years ago, I was working in the US and had a bank account there. Then I moved to Europe in my home country.

I have some thousands dollars left on my US bank account and it generated interests in 2019 (like 30 cents), the bank knows that I'm not an US citizen and that I don't live in the US but they send me a 1099 INT form saying that they withheld some cents for the IRS.

I know that 1099 are mostly used for contractors etc... and that you have to declare it to the IRS when you do your taxes, can I just ignore this form?

Thanks

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    There are many types of 1099 forms. The form you got, 1099-INT is the standard way banks report interest income to you and the IRS. – pboss3010 Jan 29 at 12:10
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The 1099-INT form is not saying that any withholding was done. It is simply a notification to you as to how much interest you earned that year (hence -INT), so you may fill out your tax forms correctly. For most taxpayers, paying your taxes is simply a matter of gathering up all your W-4s and 1099s, and tallying them into the right boxes on your tax forms.

So the purpose of the 1099-INT is a courtesy notice so you are able to do that. It also means that the income has almost certainly been reported to the IRS.

Taxpayers file their taxes on Form 1040, except non-resident taxpayers (that'd be you) use the Form 1040-NR. The starting point for your question is 1040-NR Instructions, in the section "Who Must File" (page 6-7). Short answer: NO.

There's a complicated reason and a simple reason. The simple reason is:

  1. Your gross income was less than $5.
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  • Since the OP is not a US tax resident or US citizen and the US bank knows this, there might be mandatory withholding of income tax (20%? 30%?)by the bank and this would be shown in Box 4 on the 1099-INT form. Generally, banks are not required to send 1099 forms if the amount is less than $10 (though the income is nonetheless reportable regardless of whether a 1099 form was received or not). In this instance, though, the Form 1099-INT can be safely ignored for the reasons cited by Harper. In any case, the IRS does issue refund checks if the refund is less than one US dollar. – Dilip Sarwate Jan 30 at 15:50
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Yes, you can ignore it, assuming that 30c is your only taxable income.

All interest earned is taxable at the federal level. However, all the tax forms round to the nearest dollar amount. Therefore, if you have 49c or less of taxable income then you would simply put down "0" on that line if you filed a return.

Additionally, if this interest is your only income then you can definitely ignore it because you are well below the income threshold that is required to file (the standard deduction).

Check Box 4 of the form, which will show if any federal taxes were withheld. If so, you could go through the process to file and get that refunded, but it's unlikely to be worth the effort for such a small amount.

Also, there are many different kinds of 1099 forms. Yes, they are used to document pay to contractors but not in this case. What you received is most likely a 1099-INT.

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  • You will probably want to note that the standard deduction cannot be used by non-resident aliens so the OP would not be eligible to do that. However your answer is still fully correct because of the dollar rounding rule. – Vality Jan 29 at 17:04

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