“Can you handwrite a 1099 or a W2?” is one of our most common questions surrounding tax preparation. The short answer is yes, you can fill out a 1099 by hand, but there’s a little more to it than that. Handwriting your tax forms comes with a long list of rules from the IRS since handwritten forms need to be scanned by their machines. A simple mistake like using the wrong color pen ink or adding a dollar sign where you’re not supposed to could cause errors on your forms.
In this post, we’ll answer can tax forms be handwritten, and well as a collection of other tax form questions we get asked most often. We’ll also share some best practices so that you can ensure your tax forms are error-free and up to IRS standards.
Below we’ll answer the following questions:
Yes, you can handwrite a 1099 or W2, but be very cautious when doing so. The handwriting must be completely legible using black ink block letters to avoid processing errors.
The IRS says, “Although handwritten forms are acceptable, they must be completely legible and accurate to avoid processing errors. Handwritten forms often result in name/TIN mismatches.”
Know that if you choose to handwrite your tax forms, there is much more room for human error, and a simple mistake could mean a big headache for you and your business. Even if no transcription errors are made, there are still a number of rules to follow for how you handwrite tax forms. For example, there are certain characters you are not allowed to use, and you must always handwrite documents with black ink.
The best way to avoid these errors is to efile your forms. Efiling is the most accurate and efficient way of filing 1099s, W2s, and other tax forms. Plus, in the years to come, more and more businesses will be required by the IRS to switch to efiling.
The Taxpayer First Act aims to modernize and simplify the way Americans do taxes. The Act, which was signed into law on July 1, 2019, expands efiling and mandates more businesses file their taxes electronically. Learn more about the benefits of efiling and how to do it.
You can either use preprinted W2 and 1099 forms that are ready for you to fill out, or you can print W2 and 1099 forms from your home or office as long as you use the appropriate ink, paper, and dimensions required by the IRS. The IRS requires perforated paper for the employee copy. They need to be easy to separate or already separated.
You need to ensure all of your tax forms meet IRS specifications. The simplest way to do this is to purchase preprinted tax forms or choose efiling—more on that below!
Yes. If you are paper filing, you are required to use the preprinted red ink IRS forms or print your own as long as you follow all current IRS guidelines around ink, paper, and required dimensions.
Yes. You can use a commercial tax preparation software such as Quickbooks to transmit tax forms through IRS approved electronic channels.
Yes! Efiling is more secure and more accurate than handwriting your tax forms. We highly recommend businesses consider efiling 1099s and W2s.
The Taxpayer First Act requires more and more individuals and businesses to make the switch to efiling. Check if you will be required to make the switch this year or in the coming years. Efiling is simpler, quicker, and results in far fewer errors than the paper method. If you’re going to have to switch sooner or later, why not make the switch sooner?
💡 Learn how to organize, create, and keep track of your receipts with our guide on How to Organize Receipts.
💡 All About Tax Form Mailing: 1099 and W2 Envelopes, including the difference between 1099 and W2 envelopes and where you can purchase tax envelopes.
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This article is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information. However, it is not a substitute for legal advice and does not provide legal opinions on any specific facts or services. The information is provided with the understanding that any person or entity involved in creating, producing or distributing this article is not liable for any damages arising out of the use or inability to use this product. You are urged to consult an attorney concerning your particular situation and any specific questions or concerns you may have.
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