Help with tax questions

What you need to know about tax forms

The 1099 form is a series of documents described by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as “information returns”, used to report income other than a regular salary. There are various versions of the form, each denoted by a different letter or number, to report various types of non-salary income you may receive throughout the year. Some common versions are the 1099-R, 1099-MISC, 1099-INT, and 5498.

Yes, you can. Log into and select My Profile. You'll see there's a section called Tax Documents under My Documents. That's where you'll find documents like your 1099 form.

Did you know you can receive your tax forms electronically? Sign up for electronic delivery.

1099-R forms are required to be sent to you by January 31 of the year following your distribution. If you don't receive your form by early February, please let us know.

If you have recently moved or changed addresses, we can request a duplicate 1099-R for you after January 31, if necessary.

Some of the common types of 1099 forms are the 1099-R, 1099-MISC, 1099-INT, and 5498.

  • The 1099-R is generally used to report designated distributions from pensions, annuities, and retirement- and life insurance-type contracts. 
  • The 1099-INT is generally used to report any interest income.
  • The 1099-MISC is generally intended to serve a similar purpose as a W-2, but for independent contractors. This form reports the various types of payments the contractor received.
  • The 5498 is generally used to report various information about Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and other tax-preferred savings accounts.

Generally, but not always. These forms are generated from a taxable event and are used in preparing your return. You may want to consult with your tax advisor.

If you do not remember receiving a check or ACH from Principal Life Insurance Company, you may have received a check or ACH payment from a current or former employer’s retirement plan, with administrative services provided by Principal Life.

  • Please review your personal records for a check stub or copies of any correspondence. You may have received a benefit other than cash: for example, an outstanding loan balance would become a taxable distribution if you didn’t repay the loan when you left your job or surrendered your life insurance policy.
  • This distribution is being reported for the tax year listed on the tax record. The taxable amount shown is the benefit taxable to you in that tax year. If you received more than one tax record, the total from all records in the taxable amount section is your total benefit for that tax year.

The document you received is a tax record copy of a form Principal Life Insurance Company (Principal Life) submitted to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on your behalf.

We submitted this form because you either:

  1. Received a distribution from a Principal-administered retirement plan (either an individual or employer-sponsored plan) in the last tax year. You may have received this distribution as cash, a direct rollover, an unpaid loan balance, or a stock certificate, as a result of a benefit event (such as changing jobs, retiring, etc.) or an early withdrawal from your retirement plan.
  2. Received a distribution from a Principal-administered life insurance policy in the last tax year. You may have received this distribution as cash, an unpaid loan balance or loan interest, or a stock certificate.

You can refer to the back of the Form 1099-R to verify which type of distribution you received. You’ll also find the commonly used distribution codes in Box 7.

Here’s what the distribution codes mean:

  • G – Indicates the distribution was a direct rollover from one retirement plan to another. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not consider this a taxable event.
  • 1 – Indicates an early or premature distribution was taken from your retirement account or insurance policy.
  • 6 – Indicates a 1035 tax-free Exchange
  • 7 – Indicates a distribution was taken from your retirement plan or life insurance policy. Standard taxation applies to this distribution, but federal penalty does not.

If you file taxes, you may need to report the total benefit on your tax return. Please consult with your individual tax preparer, legal advisor, or the IRS to see if you need to file a tax return. Principal Life cannot provide tax advice or help to complete tax forms. If you do not file taxes, please keep the tax record with your important records.

If you had an outstanding loan balance at the time you left the organization that sponsored the retirement plans, or if you had an outstanding policy loan balance at the time you surrendered a life insurance policy and did not pay it back, this amount is included as part of the total taxable amount indicated on the 1099-R .

You can always call us for help. Just know we have a lot of callers right now because, like you, they're also preparing their taxes. Our wait times are longer than normal, so we appreciate your patience.

  • For retirement plans: 800-547-7754 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (CT), Monday – Friday
  • For life insurance: 800-247-9988 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (CT), Monday – Friday.
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Have more questions about your tax forms from us?

You can always call us!

  • For retirement plans: 800-547-7754
  • For life insurance: 800-247-9988

The subject matter in this communication is provided with the understanding that Principal® is not rendering legal, accounting, or tax advice. You should consult with appropriate counsel or other advisors on all matters pertaining to legal, tax, or accounting obligations and requirements.

Insurance products issued by Principal National Life Insurance Co (except in NY) and Principal Life Insurance Co. Plan administrative services offered by Principal Life. Securities offered through Principal Securities, Inc., 800-247-1737, Member SIPC and/or independent broker/dealers. Principal National, Principal Life, and Principal Securities are members of the Principal Financial Group®, Des Moines, IA 50392.