Wait to file your taxes if...

...you own a brokerage account.

I was jealous of a colleague who declared that he already had his tax refund on the way. I was even more jealous of the fact that his refund was small.

Why would I be jealous of a small refund?

In this case the government has been taking only as much money from my colleague over the course of the year as he ultimately would owe in taxes. Some people like getting big refunds, but that is a big interest free loan you are giving to the government... If you have enough income to do that, I've got a bridge for sale...

So if you can only have what you will owe withheld (takes good planning), you get paid more throughout the year meaning you have more every two weeks to donate to charity, spend on bird seed, or spend at the movies.

Anyway- last year I got an amended tax statement from my brokerage and I was really glad I had not submitted my taxes, because I would have had to re-submit them with the new form if I had been more on the ball. This year, I have yet to receive my tax statement from etrade and when my colleague was like "I'm done with my taxes" I was all like- "what is up with my stuff?"

So I logged into my etrade account and found this buried in the page that allows you to view your tax forms:

"If you hold a mutual fund, REIT, or RIC, we may need to issue you an amended Form 1099. This may affect the date you will want to file your tax return. To minimize the possibility of multiple corrections, we will not be generating amended 1099s until late February 2007."

I didn't even know what a RIC was but I own Mutual Funds and a REIT (Boston Properties).

My initial reaction was- why can't etrade get this stuff right the first time? Then I read an article by Andrea Coombes that led me to believe that brokerages are required (perhaps by law?) to send tax info by Jan 31st, but that many mutual funds and REITS send updated info to brokerages after this date forcing brokerages to send multiple copies and forcing those of us who invest in Funds and REITs to wait to file our taxes or file multiple times. Andrea specifically notes that some Brokerages are seeking permission to wait to send their tax info to clients.

Since etrade bought my old brokerage, but the transfer did not happen until a couple of weeks into Jan. I wonder how may tax forms I will actually get...

etrade does have this message on my account home page:

"1099s Available by January 31st.
This year as part of your move to E*TRADE Financial, you may receive TWO tax statements for 2006. Your tax statement(s) will be mailed to you and made available online by January 31."

What this should say is that I may receive FOUR tax statements and should not even bother trying to figure out my taxes until the end of Feb.

But regardless, the confusion and how long it is taking for me to receive this info does not appear to be etrade's fault, but rather a result of changing and complicated regulations.

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