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I received bonuses from credit cards for signing up and never received a 1099. The distinction seems to be if you get a signup bonus for opening a banks account –vs- a credit card.

This isn't clearly discussed in the linked articles, but there is a clue:

The IRS says 1099s must be filed if an individual receives "[a]t least $600 in rents, services (including parts and materials), prizes and awards."

Prizes and awards are reported on Form 1099-MISC, which must be issued if the value of the prize or award is $600 or more. But interest earned must be reported on a Form 1099-INT if it's $10 or more. Citi is apparently considering the miles for opening an account to be interest, while the miles for opening a credit card might be prize or award. If the value Citi assigns to the miles is between $10 and $599, that would generate a 1099-INT for the bank account and no reporting for the credit card.

I dislike non-cash rewards, and this is one of the reasons. The reward can be assigned a value higher than I would place on it, and I could end up paying more in taxes than the reward is worth to me. So far, I've only experienced this with small stuff; it would be really annoying to pay several hundred dollars in taxes on a reward that I didn't end up using.

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