Personal taxes


What is a 1099? And How do I file an IRS 1099 Form?

6 Min Read

What is a 1099 Tax Form? Everything You Need to Know About IRS Form 1099: A Guide for Business Owners on 1099-MISC, 1099-K Form, and Other Tax Forms for Miscellaneous Income and Social Security Reporting as well as a guide for 1099 employees and others who receive an IRS 1099 form.



The 1099 form is a series of documents used by the U.S. tax system to report income other than wages, salaries, and tips. Issued by payers to both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the income recipient, it serves as a record of specific financial transactions that might not have had taxes withheld at the source. Individuals receive 1099 forms for incomes like freelance earnings, interest, dividends, and several other income streams. When preparing annual tax returns, recipients must include the income reported on the 1099 form, ensuring accurate tax calculations and compliance with IRS regulations.

What is a 1099 Form Used For?

A 1099 form is utilized by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to document various income types that individuals may receive throughout the tax year, other than regular wages, salaries, or tips. This form is typically issued by entities or individuals who have paid others for services or specific financial transactions.  They use this to report income to the IRS.  Common examples include freelance income, interest from bank accounts, dividends from investments, and rental income. The 1099 form serves as an official record for both the payer and the recipient, ensuring that the latter reports and pays taxes on these additional sources of income during tax filing.

Common Types of 1099 Forms (The Different Types of 1099 Forms)

The 1099 forms represent a series of documents in the U.S. tax system, each tailored to report specific types of income. The 1099-MISC captures miscellaneous income, such as rents or prizes. The 1099-NEC is designated for non-employee compensation, commonly used for freelancers. The 1099-INT reports interest income, while the 1099-DIV is for dividends and distributions. The 1099-R documents distributions from pensions, annuities, or retirement plans. The 1099-K is for payment card and third-party network transactions. These are just a few examples, and each form ensures accurate reporting of diverse income streams to the IRS.

Note: This table is published for your convenience. Dates are subject to change based on IRS updates. Please confirm with the IRS website and do not rely on information published in the table above as final.
* Various reporting deadlines may be applicable depending on the type of payment(s)/income being reported. Please refer to the filing instructions provided by the IRS for more details.
** Alternate/filing/distribution deadlines may apply based on specific circumstances. Please refer to the filing instructions provided by the IRS for more details.

The Form 1099-MISC Explained

The Form 1099-MISC is a specific document within the U.S. tax system designed to report miscellaneous income. It's commonly used by businesses to report payments made to non-employees, such as freelancers, or other service providers. Payments for rents, prizes, awards, or other income are also recorded on this form. If an individual receives more than $600 in a year from a single-payer for services rendered, that payer is typically required to issue a 1099-MISC. The recipient then uses this form as a reference when filing their taxes, ensuring they report and pay the appropriate taxes on that income.

The Form 1099-K Explained

The Form 1099-K is a tax document issued by payment settlement entities to report electronic transactions for goods or services. This form is commonly associated with third-party payment processors, such as credit card companies, PayPal, and other online platforms that facilitate transactions. If a merchant receives over 200 transactions amounting to more than $20,000 in a calendar year through a single payment processor, they will get a 1099-K. The form provides a monthly breakdown of these transactions, ensuring transparency. For tax purposes, recipients must report the income listed on the 1099-K, ensuring accurate income reporting and tax compliance.

The Form 1099-NEC Form Explained

The Form 1099-NEC is a recent addition to the U.S. income tax system, specifically designed to report non-employee compensation. Prior to its introduction, such payments were reported on the 1099-MISC. However, to streamline reporting and address deadline discrepancies, the IRS reintroduced the 1099-NEC in 2020. Businesses use it to report payments made to freelancers who earn $600 or more in a year. It ensures that these self-employed individuals declare and pay taxes on their earnings. By segregating non-employee compensation from other miscellaneous incomes, the 1099-NEC aids in clearer, more efficient process when it comes time to file your tax return.

Who Should Receive a Form 1099 and Why would get a 1099 form:

Form 1099 is issued to individuals or entities who receive specific types of income other than regular wages, salaries, or tips during the year. Freelancers, or self-employed individuals who earn $600 or more from a single client may receive a 1099. Those who earn interest, dividends, or rental income will typically get a 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, or 1099-MISC respectively. Additionally, merchants processing over 200 transactions and exceeding $20,000 through third-party networks like PayPal will get a 1099-K. It's crucial for recipients to use these forms when filing their taxes to ensure accurate income reporting and tax compliance.  Individuals who get a 1099 may receive a federal income tax refund depending on which credits tax credits (if any) they qualify for and the deductions that that they take.

Reporting Income: Who Needs to File a 1099 Form & What Should I Do if I Receive a 1099 Form?

Businesses and individuals who make certain types of payments, such as to independent contractors or freelancers exceeding $600 in a year, are required to file a 1099 form with the IRS and provide a copy to the recipient. If you get a 1099 form, it means you've earned income outside of traditional employment. You should review it for accuracy and retain it for your records. When preparing your tax return, report the income from the 1099 form. It's essential to include this income, as the IRS has a matching copy, and discrepancies can lead to audits or penalties for underreporting.

Do I need to file a 1099 form as a business owner? How to fill out a 1099 form? And how to Receive an IRS Form 1099-MISC?

If you've earned income outside of traditional employment, such as from freelance work, interest, or rentals, exceeding specific thresholds, you should get a 1099 form from the payer. This form documents your additional income for tax purposes. If you expect a 1099 but haven't received it by late January, contact the payer. If they've already sent it, request a duplicate. Alternatively, you can access a copy through the IRS's Get Transcript service. When preparing your tax return, use the information on the 1099 to report your income accurately. Ensure you keep a copy for your records in case of future inquiries.

IRS and the 1099 Tax Form and My Tax Return

The IRS, or Internal Revenue Service, is the U.S. government agency responsible for tax collection and tax law enforcement. The 1099 tax form is one of the tools used by the IRS to ensure accurate income reporting by individuals and businesses. This form documents various types of income received outside of traditional wages or salaries, such as freelance earnings, interest, or dividends. The IRS requires entities that make certain payments to issue 1099 forms both to the income recipient and the IRS itself. This dual reporting ensures that individuals declare all their income sources, promoting transparency and compliance with tax regulations.

What's the Difference Between a 1099 and a Form W-2?

The 1099 and W-2 are both tax documents, but they serve different purposes. A 1099 form is issued to independent contractors, freelancers, or individuals who have received certain types of non-wage income, documenting earnings outside of traditional employment. On the other hand, a W-2 is issued by employers to their employees, detailing wages, salaries, and other compensation along with tax withholdings. The key distinction lies in the employment relationship: W-2 recipients are considered employees with benefits and tax withholdings managed by their employers, while 1099 recipients are typically self-employed, and responsible for their own taxes and benefits.

Is there such a thing as a 1099 Employee?

The term "1099 employee" is somewhat of a misnomer. Individuals who get a 1099 form are not employees in the traditional sense; they are independent contractors or freelancers. Unlike W-2 employees, who have taxes withheld from their paychecks and may receive benefits from their employers, 1099 recipients are responsible for managing and paying their own taxes, including self-employment tax. They typically do not receive benefits like health insurance or retirement contributions from the companies they work for. The term has become colloquial, but it's essential to understand the distinct differences in responsibilities and rights between W-2 employees and 1099 contractors.

Common Mistakes to Avoid with 1099 IRS Forms

Navigating 1099 IRS forms can be tricky, and mistakes can lead to penalties. Common errors include missing the filing deadline, which is typically January 31st for sending forms to recipients and the end of February for paper filing with the IRS. Another mistake is using the wrong form type, like confusing 1099-MISC with 1099-NEC. Incorrectly reporting amounts, not verifying recipient information, or omitting TINs (Taxpayer Identification Numbers) can also cause issues. Additionally, failing to keep copies for your records or not considering tax obligations at the state level can be problematic. It's crucial to double-check all details and consult tax professionals if unsure.

The Role of Independent Contractors and the IRS 1099 Form

Independent contractors play a pivotal role in the modern workforce, offering specialized services without the long-term commitments of traditional employment. The 1099 form is integral to this relationship. Unlike W-2 employees, independent contractors don't have taxes withheld from their earnings. Instead, they get 1099s from each client or company they've provided services to, provided they earned more than $600 in a year. This form documents their income, which they must report when filing their taxes. The 1099 form ensures transparency in income reporting for independent contractors, helping both the IRS and the contractor maintain accurate tax records.

How Do I Pay Taxes (Federal & State Tax) When I have a 1099?

When you receive a 1099 form, it signifies non-wage income for which you're responsible for self-reporting and making tax payments. For federal taxes, you must report this income on Schedule C of Form 1040, detailing your profits and losses. Additionally, you'll be subject to self-employment tax, covering Social Security and Medicare, which is calculated using Schedule SE. To avoid year-end tax burdens, consider making quarterly estimated tax payments using Form 1040-ES. For taxes at the state level, the process varies, but most states require a similar declaration of income. Always consult with a tax professional or use tax software to ensure accurate reporting and payment.

Key Takeaways & Best Practices for 1099 Forms & How to File Taxes With a Form 1099

Wrapping up, this section will provide a bullet-point summary of the most crucial aspects of 1099 forms. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of taxes, these takeaways will ensure you're well-prepared for the tax season.

Bullet Point Summary:

  • The 1099 form is used by the IRS to track various types of income.
  • There are multiple types of 1099 forms, each for a specific income type.
  • The 1099-NEC is a new form introduced for non-employee compensation.
  • Independent contractors and freelancers often receive 1099 forms.
  • It's crucial to understand the difference between 1099 and W-2 forms.
  • Avoid common mistakes to ensure accurate tax filing.
  • Always consult with a tax professional if unsure about any aspect of the 1099 form.

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Tickmark, Inc. and its affiliates do not provide legal, tax or accounting advice. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal, tax or accounting advice or recommendations. All information prepared on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be relied on for legal, tax or accounting advice. You should consult your own legal, tax or accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. The content on this website is provided “as is;” no representations are made that the content is error-free.

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January 25, 2021


Katherine Gustafson

Katherine Gustafson


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