What is the last day you can receive income tax forms like W2s or 1099 from sources of income?


There is a common mis-conception that the notices of the type you ask, generally in the 1099 series (there are lots of different ones) as well as a W-2, (showing withholding by employers), must be received by January 31 for any period in the just ended calendar year.

THAT IS INCORRECT: Actually, there really isn't requirement for a received by date. The information must be SENT/PROVIDED (that is given to the USPS or approved service) by that date, 1/31 (+ for weekends/holidays, etc). Hence, if you have a slow mail service in your area, and a reporter that got it to the USPS late on 1/31, it may be several days or more until you actually receive it, and there would be no foul. Same true for lost ones that you never receive: as long as they have proof of mailing it on time, they're okay. And there are simple procedures that allow most filers of these returns an additional 30 days.

The law prescribes penalties for late filings. However, it is normally viewed from the IRS side, meaning when the copy they get was electronically transmitted, or certified mailed. The penalty is assessable and payable by/to the IRS - not to you. In fact, if a form is late (or not sent) to you, you can't use it as any particular excuse and must try to report what it was going to say anyway - as best you can and note it.