Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I Got a 1099 for a Signup Bonus

Last year, I opened an interest-free checking account at Bank of America. To be honest, I only opened this "MyAccess Checking" account because they offered me a $75 bonus for signing up. The most ironic thing about this "checking" account was that although they include an ATM card and free online bill payments, they didn't actually include a checkbook with the account.

Getting to the point, I was recently surprised to receive a 1099-INT form from Bank of America. When I opened it up, I saw that the bank had listed my $75 "reward/gift" on line 1 as interest earned. That means that I need to pay tax on my signup bonus. Is this common? I've participated in similar offers in the past, but this is the first time that I've seen a 1099 list a bonus as being taxable. So, I dug up a copy of the original offer, and this is what the fine print said:

We (Bank of America) may report the value of any premium to the IRS.

So, I guess that I was forewarned. A side note is that Bank of America allowed me to fund the account using a credit card. There was no cash advance fee. If you use a miles or points card to open a new account, you would earn points as if your initial deposit was a purchase.

What are other people's experiences with bank bonuses?