Every year, your IRA provider reports on your IRA to the IRS. Providers do this with two tiny but powerful tax forms, IRS Forms 1099-R and 5498. A mistake on one of these forms could cost you money or lead to a needless IRS audit. There are tens of millions of IRA accounts in the U.S., so there are going to be some reporting mistakes. Head off problems by eyeballing those forms carefully when you receive them, and if you find mistakes, getting them corrected. Moreover, know what every number and code on those forms means, so you can be sure your tax preparer correctly transfers the info onto your tax return.
Let's dig into Form 5498. The IRA provider must file this form every year for every IRA it manages. The form reports the prior year-end fair market value of the IRA, whether any contribution was made to the account for the prior year, and (in some cases) whether a minimum distribution is required from the account for the current year.