Form 1099 Rules for Employers

1099 rules

What is a 1099 form, and how is it used? Most U.S.-based business owners have issued 1099 tax forms to independent contractors, keeping them in compliance with the Internal Revenue Service. However, there are several other scenarios in which a small business owner would issue or receive a type of 1099. Do you know the 1099 rules?

Are you curious about who should get a 1099 form, how to issue one, or what rules apply in different scenarios? In this article, we’ll provide the answers to these questions about 1099 forms and more.

What Is a 1099 Form?

The 1099 form, issued by the Internal Revenue Service in the United States, serves several specific purposes, each with a different variant of the form. Some of these include:

  • Form 1099-MISC: This version is issued when a business pays a non-employee more than $600 in a year. It’s often used for independent contractors, freelancers, or other non-employee workers.
  • Form 1099-INT: This version is for reporting interest income, for instance from a bank or other financial institution.
  • Form 1099-DIV: This version reports dividend payments made by corporations to their shareholders.

Just as businesses use W2 forms to report wages, tips, and other compensation paid to employees, 1099 forms are used to report different types of income received by individuals or entities.

The use of these forms helps the IRS ensure accurate reporting and payment of taxes, while allowing individuals and entities to correctly calculate their tax liabilities based on their total annual income.

Despite the similarities with W2, a key distinction is that 1099 forms don’t account for any tax withholdings, as taxes are typically not withheld from the types of income these forms report.

1099 form MISC

What Types of Income Payments Are Reported on a 1099 Form?

While 1099 forms often are associated with income paid to independent contractors, they also can be used to report a variety of other income payments and miscellaneous income. Some of the more common types of income payments reported on a 1099 include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Non-employee compensation
  • Rent or royalty payments
  • State or local tax refunds
  • Gambling winnings
  • Brokerage gains or losses
  • Dividends and interest payments
  • Commissions
  • Non-qualified deferred compensation
  • Medical and healthcare payments
  • Prizes and awards
  • Crop insurance proceeds
  • Fishing boat proceeds

1099 form misc 2020

What Are the Types of 1099 Forms?

A 1099 might be a common IRS form, but it’s available in multiple versions. A few of the most common types of 1099 forms include:

  • 1099-NEC reports nonemployee compensation such as income earned as an independent contractor, freelancer or self-employed individual.
  • 1099-MISC reports payments like rent, royalties, prizes and awards, substitute payments in lieu of dividends, medical and health care payments and crop insurance proceeds.
  • 1099-INT reports interest payments from banks, brokerage firms and other investment firms.
  • 1099-DIV reports payments to investors including cash dividends.
  • 1099-G reports unemployment payments or local tax refunds.
  • 1099-R reports payments from taxable pension retirement plans or individual retirement accounts (IRAs), as well as certain life insurance plans and annuities.
  • 1099-B reports income from commodities, stock sales, certain types of bartering and other securities.
  • 1099-S reports real estate transactions that gain money, including the sales of land, residential properties and commercial or industrial properties.
  • 1099-K reports payments received through reportable payment card transactions of third-party payment network transactions. These include sources like PayPal and Venmo.

1099 for Digital Payments

With the rise of digital payment platforms like PayPal and Venmo, businesses must be aware of the 1099 reporting requirements for transactions made through these services. The IRS requires reporting for business-related digital payments that exceed specific thresholds.

For instance, if transactions surpass $600, they may necessitate a 1099 form. This requirement calls for businesses to stay updated on the tax implications of digital transactions and ensure compliance with these evolving IRS guidelines.

Ultimately, providers like PayPal may be required to issue a 1099-K for all users earning more than $600. However, that requirement has been postponed again in 2024, and they are thus only required to issue the form to users earning more than $20,000 with at least 200 transactions.


What Common 1099 Rules Must a Business Owner Follow?

Like many other aspects of filing income taxes in the United States, 1099 forms have undergone their share of changes in recent years, so it’s important for a small business owner to keep abreast of the newest applicable rules, such as the following:

New Forms

Beginning with the 2020 tax year, the IRS reintroduced the 1099-NEC, which hadn’t been used for decades. Prior to 2020, payments to non-employees such as independent contractors, which were subject to self-employment taxes, were reported on a 1099-MISC. Such income is now reported on a 1099-NEC.

$600 Threshold

Businesses are required to send copies of Form 1099-NEC to the IRS and contractors if they pay $600 or more in compensation. The $600 threshold also applies to other 1099 forms to report payments such as non-qualified deferred compensation, crop insurance proceeds, rent, prizes and more.

Taxpayers who earn less than $600 usually are still required to report the income with their tax obligations, even if they did not receive a 1099.

Dates and Deadlines

Businesses must supply 1099 to contractors and vendors and file a copy with the IRS by Jan. 31. However, if that date falls on a weekend, the due date is the following Monday. Some types of 1099 forms require IRS filing by Feb. 28, but copies should still be furnished to recipients by Jan. 31.

Foreign Workers

If you hire a non-U.S. citizen who works remotely via the Internet from another country, generally speaking, you do not need to file a 1099 for that person. However, if the foreign worker performs any work inside the United States, you would need to file the 1099.

Payments to Corporations

Businesses usually do not need to issue 1099 forms for payments made to corporations.  For example, if paying a corporation that provides web design services or some other business service, they do not need to issue a 1099.

This can include independent contracts operating as an S Corp, as well. However, it’s important to remember that an LLC, or limited liability company, is not the same as a corporation.  In general, an entity is expected to send 1099 forms to most small business LLCs.

PayPal and Credit Card Payments

In most cases, businesses are not required to send 1099 forms to independent contractors or unincorporated businesses if they were paid electronically via PayPal or credit cards. Instead, the credit card companies and payment companies will handle any required reporting.

Personal Payments

1099 forms are not required for personal payments. Entities are required to issue 1099-MISC reports only for payments made in the course of doing a trade or business. If you run a non-profit organization, however, that’s considered a business for purposes of 1099s.

1099 Errors

A payer who later discovers an error should re-issue a corrected 1099 form to that payee, and correct the filing with the IRS. If a payee receives a 1099 with an error, the recipient should contact the payer to correct the form. If they cannot get the form corrected, they must attach an explanation to their tax return and report the income correctly.

1099 form IRS

Record-Keeping and Compliance

Maintaining accurate records is vital for adhering to 1099 compliance. Businesses need to track all payments to contractors, freelancers, and other non-employees throughout the year.

Proper documentation is key, including detailed logs of payments and retaining copies of contracts and work orders. Timely filing of 1099 forms and accurate reporting of payment amounts are crucial for smooth tax processing and avoiding any penalties from the IRS.


How to Issue and File 1099 Forms

Issuing and filing a 1099 form is simple once the payer has the proper information. To fill out a 1099 form, a business needs four pieces of information:

  • Payer’s information
  • Payee’s information
  • Nonemployee compensation amount
  • Tax information, such as Social Security number or tax ID number

The first box of the 1099-NEC contains the information on the paying business. There is only one box for this information, and you must include your name and business name, street address and phone number.

The second section of the 1099-NEC is for the paid contractor’s information. To obtain this, the payer will send the payee a W-9 form requesting their name, address and taxpayer identification number. However, if the contractor is not a U.S. resident, the payer will need a W-8BEN or W-8BEN to certify that they reside outside the country.

After a business fills out these sections, it needs only to input the compensation amount that the contractor received during the tax year.

Once the 1099 form is completed, check for state 1099 form requirements. Some states require forms to be submitted to them, while others don’t. To meet federal requirements, the business must send two copies, one to the IRS and one to the payee, which must arrive at their locations by Jan. 31. The detailed procedures for filing each of these is explained on the 1099 form’s first page.

A new IRS online portal allowing users to create and file 1099 forms, known as the Information Return Intake System, is also available.


1099 Related Penalties

Businesses that fail to issue a 1099-NEC or 1099-MISC by the filing deadline could face penalties ranging from $50 to $280 per form for the current tax year, depending on how late the form was submitted.

Businesses that intentionally disregard a payee’s request to correct 1099 with errors can be subject to a minimum penalty of $570 per form, or 10% of the income reported on the form, with no maximum.

1099 form

Automating 1099 Processes

The advent of technology has made managing 1099 forms more efficient. Many modern accounting software solutions offer features to automate the generation, filing, and tracking of 1099 forms. This automation enhances accuracy, saves time, and reduces administrative burdens.

When choosing a 1099 automation tool, consider factors like integration with existing accounting systems, e-filing capabilities, and secure data handling.

This technological shift is reshaping how businesses handle their 1099 processes, offering a more streamlined approach to financial management.


What If You Don’t Receive a 1099?

Taxpayers earning qualified income should receive a 1099 form from the payer no later than early February, but what happens when they don’t? The first step to take if a 1099 isn’t received is to contact the payer. If it’s still not received by Feb. 15, the party should call the IRS for help at 1-800-829-1040.

Whether or not a 1099 is received, the taxpayer is still obliged to report the income on their tax return, which sometimes can be achieved by pulling the data from other sources such as bank statements.

What Is an Author’s Income Threshold for Book Royalties?

Royalties paid to an artist, such as an author, musician, songwriter, or singer, are considered taxable income. Whether or not those royalties are subject to self-employment tax depends largely on whether the artist is a professional or a hobbyist.

The United States Tax Code requires publishers to report royalties paid that exceed $10 in Form 1099-MISC.

What are Other income payments considered on a 1099?

Form 1099-MISC reports payments “other” than nonemployee compensation made by a trade or business to others. Examples of this “other” income include payments for rent, royalties, prizes and awards, as well as substitute payments in lieu of dividends.

The 1099-MISC even includes an area for payments that don’t fall into its defined categories, labeled “other income.”

This is where a business will report payments of $600 or more made for activities including participation in a medical research study, monetary prizes or awards, termination of self-employed insurance salespeople and punitive damages, damages for nonphysical injuries or sickness and any other taxable damages.

How Do You Report Interest Income to the IRS?

Most interest that can be withdrawn by a taxpayer without penalty is considered taxable income by the IRS, with some exceptions.

Interest recipients should receive Copy B of form 1099-INT or form 1099-OID, which report taxable or tax-exempt interest payments of $10 or more.

These forms are typically issued by a broker as part of a composite statement. Interest earners must report all taxable and tax-exempt interest on their federal income tax returns, whether or not they receive a Form 1099.

Where Can You Get 1099 Forms?

Blank 1099 forms are available from a variety of convenient locations. Businesses can get paper copies at many post offices, public libraries and even office supply stores.

They also can request 1099 forms from the IRS, which can be mailed to them in paper form or downloaded to print. However, it’s important to know the correct 1099 form to request.

A new IRS online portal, known as the Information Return Intake System allows users to electronically create and file 1099 forms. Some accounting and tax-preparation software services also will prepare, print and file certain 1099 forms, such as the 1099-NEC.

An accountant or tax preparer also can e-file 1099 forms along with a business’s own taxes. It should be noted that if a business needs to file more than 250 1099s, it must file electronically. Those that fail to comply and don’t have an approved waiver could be subject to penalties of up to $100 per return.

Image: Depositphotos

Samantha Lile Samantha Lile is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 3 years. She is also a freelance writer and journalist who contributes to a variety of web publications from her home office in the heart of the Ozarks.