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What is a 1099 Form and How to File it?

Updated : March 8th, 2019

The 1099 form is used to record income that you have received as an independent contractor or through other sources of income. This would mean that if you are a freelancer then you will receive 1099 forms from your clients. The IRS requires businesses to issue this form if contractors are paid at least $600 in the same year.

Based on how you receive your income, there are a few different 1099 forms that will need to submit. The 1099-K form is used for payments via settlements entities like PayPal that record business transactions for that particular year. Finally, you should track the sum total of your 1099 forms and calculate the total income and adjusted gross income (AGI).

What is a 1099?

The 1099 form is referred to as the Information Filing Form. Usually, there are types of 1099 forms that are used to report tax dividends, the sale of personal property and debts. But the one that is most frequently used is the Form 1099-MISC used by independent contractors and business owners.

When is the Deadline for 1099?

You should ensure that you file form 1099-MISC with the IRS every year by January 31. On the other hand, Form 1099-K should be filed with the IRS by February 28 for mail filing and by March 31 if you are submitting it in the electronic form.

How to Go About Filing 1099 Form?

Paper Filing

Paper Filing

When it comes to compiling the 1099 form, you should ensure that you include Copy A of 1099-MISC and Copy A of the 1099-K when you share the 1099 form with the IRS. Also, ensure that you submit Form 1096 should be filed as well. This helps the IRS check the amount you paid out in total. These IRS forms are scanned to electronically read these forms.

Electronic Filing

When it comes to the electronic filing, you need to use a special formatting software which is usually worked on by developers. Anyone that files online should apply to the IRS to let them know that you are filing electronically. Moreover, the IRS prefers this method and there are major benefits like:

  • Filing for State and Federal together for 34 states
  • No 1096 form needed
  • Submission of 1099s in Bulk
  • Form confirmation of it being received and processed.

Preparing the 1099 Forms

Preparing the 1099 forms

The following seven steps will help you prepare your 1099 forms and adhere to the IRS guidelines:

1. Reviewing Your Work

You should ensure that you start the 1099 form process by filling in the correct information of the contractors. Ensure that you have filled out the Form W-9 for each contractor. This would include information like their name, address, and their Social Security Number (SSN) or Employer Identification Number (EIN).

As a good practice, you should check with each contractor to see if any information has changed prior to when you started the 1099 filing process. Check whether all contractors have provided the W-9 forms and whether they have omitted specific information. Based on this, you can withhold 28% of the contractor’s pay and send this directly to the IRS.

2. Getting Your 1099s in Order

When it comes to the 1099s, you should ensure that you have accurate information to work with. Ensure that you do not use a downloaded Form 1099-MISC or a sample, as these forms will be read by the IRS scanner when it processes these forms.

Order these forms directly from the IRS from their website or call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). Alternatively, you can get these forms at office-supply stores or file it online. You should know that you can buy pre-printed 1099 forms that let you print all of the information to the corresponding sections of the 1099 form.

Use the IRS Form 1099-MISC to determine the incomes for all non-employee compensation. This is what independent contractors use file and calculate their taxes. Ensure that all contractors that you have paid more than $600 in the same year fill in the Form 1099-MISC. This form is to be filled in by contractors that work for partnerships and LLCs throughout the year.

When it comes to the paper filings, Form 1096 is attached along with the 1099 filing, wherein you report the total amount of the 1099 payments that you have filed. This ensures that the IRS has the cumulative forms add up to how much is paid out in total as reported in the 1096 form.

If you get a Form 1099-G from the government agency then you are required to report this information when filing your tax return. Usually, the 1099-G is used to report unemployment compensation or state or local income tax refunds that you have received in the same year.

3. Filling Out Forms

Once you have the details and information of your contractors and the forms, you then need to put pen to paper and fill them out. You can begin with entering the Federal Tax ID number which is the SSN or EIN and then add the contact information.

The 1099 form should include the total amount of money paid to the contractor which is entered in the title Non-employee compensation. In case, you had withheld any pay from the contractor then you need to fill in details in relation to federal or state income tax which was withheld.

Finally, you need to enter the contact information forms and repeat this for each contractor that you have worked with.

4. Sending Out the Forms

You should then proceed to send the forms to the IRS. Either, you should mail or hand each of 1099 Copy B to the contractor before February 1. If you fail to meet this deadline then there would be an IRS penalty fee that would be levied on you.

5. Mailing Form 1096 to the IRS

IRS Form 1096 sums up the total of your returns which would be the 1099s. In case you file through snail mail then you must mail Form 1096 and Copy A of each Form 1099 to the IRS before February 29. But, if you are filing electronically, then you can send it out by March 31.

6. Keeping Record of Your Filing

Always keep a Copy C for your own records in case there are questions regarding the information that is sent to the IRS.

What’s the IRS Penalty for Missing the Deadline?

If you miss the deadline, then the penalty would range from $30 to $100 based on the form. You will be fined a maximum of $500,000 per year. In case a company completely disregards the need to showcase correct statements, then it could be fined $250 per form with no maximum limit.

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

Although the W-2 and Form 1099 are both used to report income that you earned from sources throughout the year. They are issued under different circumstances and requires different approaches when it comes to tax planning.

So, what is a W-2 Form?

A W-2 Form is usually given to you if you are an employee. Here, the IRS requires you to record your salary and tax information and file it with a W-2 form. This form shows you how much money you have earned from the employer during the year and you can thus calculate your AGI which includes your Federal and State taxes.

Here you can determine how 1099 forms differ from W-2 forms:

  • Here taxes are not usually withheld by the payer.
  • If you are a freelancer, then you are required to estimate your taxes and pay self-employment tax.
  • Here, you would not be withholding taxes on payments by doing tax payments quarterly based on your estimated annual tax liability.
  • The 1099 form will not show the taxes that you have paid to the government but the income you get from each client.

  1. I was permanently severanced from my job due to a Co. Reorg & received my last severance pay last week. I called UE & was told that I should now do my application online since I will no longer be getting funds & still without a job & that this coming Sunday regardless of knowing if I will or will not get benefits yet that I should still file a weekly claim in case of UE back pay.
    So my question is, do I still have to report 4 jobs applied to within this week, even if I do not know if I will be approved/denied for benefits until possibly next week anyway?

    1. Lynda,

      You should continue to report the job applications as long as you’ve been asked to do so. There will be a “Waiting Period” and the first payment will take about 7-10 days after which they’ll flow much quicker. Please call the Claims Center for clarification.

  2. I tried to transfer from one state to another. When I left Montana I was told there would be no problem transferring. When I arrived in North Carolina I had trouble reaching the area manager by phone. When he finally called me back he said to meet him for lunch to discuss when and where I would be working. He did not show up for lunch. Then he never returned any of my calls. I went PA to visit a friend a few weeks later and tried there. I met with the hiring manager and was told there should not be a problem doing the transfer since I was still in the system. I called the store a few times and they said it was still pending. Then I was terminated without even a phone call. Am I eligible for unemployment and if so do I file in Montana or North Carolina. I still have a Montana drivers license but I am living in NC.

    1. Stacey,

      As long as you were unemployed involuntarily, you should be able to claim UI benefits. Please consider applying.

  3. I have worked for 32+ years and recently have become unable to work due to health reasons, so I have had to resign from my job. I have contacted SS and will be able to apply for disability but it will take awhile to process. Can I apply for unemployment benefits? I live in WV.

    1. Sandra,

      UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose their employment due to involuntary reasons. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for more.

  4. I had to quit my job at Walmart in Fairmont West Virginia and moved back to my home state ky, I’ve got a son with drug problems and 3 older sisters that are not doing so well in health cause of their age. I didn’t understand about the transfer part they had at Walmart that I could put a date when I could start back because of my car problems I thought when I left I had to go in like in s few days, I’ve applied here at Walmart in Winchester ky 40391 two times already plus dollar store, speedway, truck stop, bp, a few other places it’s been going on 7 months without a job I live with my son and its getting harder on him paying rent and utilities and food, not to mention our personal hygiene stuff I really need help I have no income coming in to help him and his wife out I get foodstamps and Medicaid I was praying I could qualify for unemployment PLEASE HELP!!!

    1. Vicky,

      I can understand your situation. Unfortunately, UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose employment due to involuntary reasons. Please call the Unemployment Office for further clarification.

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