If you do any type of contract or freelance work for a company, that company may be required to send you a form 1099. This is a tax form required by the IRS to report income for those who are not employees but still do work for and are paid by a company. However, while contractors often receive 1099s, they are not the only people who may get this document. Let’s go over the various types of 1099s, what one contains, why you may get it, and what you do with this document.
What Is a 1099?
Any time you are paid for work by a company, that company is required to report your payments to the IRS as income. Typically, this is done through a form W-2 because most, if not all, of the company’s payments go to employees. However, some companies do hire contractors or freelancers. These individuals work on specific projects for a set amount of pay. They typically receive no benefits such as insurance or paid time off. However, they are often free to work at home and on their own schedule. Once the project is complete, they receive their payment and move on to their next job, though they and the company may also agree to a new contract for further work.
When a company pays one of these contractors, the income is reported on a 1099. It’s similar to a W-2, but there are a few significant differences. The size of the company, their industry, or the type of project does not play any part in a 1099. All companies, even small businesses, must issue 1099s to a contractor who did work for them.
However, according to IRS rules, a company only has to issue a 1099 if they pay a contractor more than $600 within the calendar year. This means a company that paid a contractor $500 is not required to send them a 1099. Contractors who receive one of these forms do need to include that income in their annual tax return just as they would report income earned on a W-2.
In addition to receiving a 1099 for contract work, you may also receive a 1099 for capital gains distributions, interest payments, dividends, and other income. The type of income will determine the type of 1099 form that you receive. There are a number of types of 1099s, including the 1099-MISC, 1099-R, and 1099-C.
What Information Is on a 1099?
A 1099 includes much of the same information as you would find on a W-2. This includes the following:
- The contractor’s full name, address, and social security number or taxpayer identification number.
- The company’s name, address, and FEIN (or SSN if they are paying as an individual).
- The total amount of money paid throughout the year.
- The account number.
- The total amount of federal and state income tax withheld, if any (typically this is zero for a 1099).
- The state or payer’s state number.
- The amount of state income.
As with W-2s, the company will fill out the 1099 and mail a copy to both the contractor and the IRS. The contractor will need to review the information and contact the company right away if there are any mistakes.
Why Are 1099s Issued?
Any contractor or individual who receives over $600 a year from a business, financial institution, or other payer will be issued at 1099. The IRS requires this income to be reported, and there are no exceptions. A company or other payer who fails to submit a 1099 form will face fines from the IRS. Individuals who do not report this income may be subjected to audits and fines as well.
Individuals who own stocks, receive interest on accounts, or are paid other types of income that is not classified as a wage will also receive a 1099 if they made more than $600. Typically, these forms will come from the payer. However, starting in 2021, some online payment processors such as PayPal may issue a 1099 to those who receive over $600 from the same payer. There are still many questions about how this will affect contractors, businesses, and others who receive payments through these processors.
How a 1099 Differs from a W-2
The main difference between a W-2 and a 1099 is that a W-2 lists out the various taxes, social security, and other withholdings from an employee’s paycheck. While a contractor may have taxes withheld on a 1099, typically this is not that case. That means the contractor or other individual will need to pay taxes on that money as part of their annual income tax return.
The two forms are similar in that both W-2s and 1099s are generated and sent out in January. Contractors, individuals, and employees should receive these forms by February first. If they do not, they will need to contact the payer. Contractors may receive 1099s from every company they have worked with over the year, while individuals may receive 1099s from every financial institution that paid them interest or dividends.
It’s also possible for someone to be an employee and do contract work. In this case, they will have both a W-2 and at least one 1099 to file.
How Do the Types of 1099s Differ?
There are many different 1099 forms. All of these forms are used to report income other than wages earned as an employee. However, each one is slightly different in what income it is used to report. Here are some of the most common types of 1099s:
- MISC – The 1099-MISC was the form used to report payments made to contractors and other freelancers. However, the form was also used to report other payments, including prize money, payments made to attorneys, rent, and other miscellaneous income. It is no longer used for contractors as of 2021.
- NEC – The 1099-NEC replaced the 1099-MISC for contractor payments starting with tax year 2021. It lists all non-employee income received in exchanged for services. This is the form that contractors and other freelancers will typically receive. Contractor payments were split out from the 1099-MISC to address certain loopholes.
- DIV – Individuals who own stock or other types of securities and are paid more than $10 in dividends or distributions will receive a 1099-DIV to report that income to the IRS.
- INT – The 1099-INT is issued by banks and other financial institutions. It reports interest of over $10.
- R – Those who receive distributions from a retirement account such as a 401(k) or a Roth IRA will receive a 1099-R stating the total amount of the distributions taken that year.
- C – This is a special type of 1099 that is only used when an individual settles debt with a credit issuer for less than the amount owed. Typically, this is done during the bankruptcy process, although it could also be done via other types of negotiations. This form shows the amount of forgiven debt, which is not typically taxed as income. However, it still must be reported.
- Q – A 1099-Q is used to document income received from a 529 educational plan or Coverdell ESA. This form is
- G – The 1099-G form is used to report several different types of payments. It’s commonly used to report unemployment compensation, but it can also be used to document income tax refunds from the state or local government as well as agricultural payments and income from taxable grants.
- SSA-1099 – Those who receive social security payments will receive a SSA-1099 form every year detailing the total amount of SSA payments they received that year. This is one of the few 1099 forms in which the identifying letters come before the form number.
- K – A 1099-K is issued by a third-party payment processor such as PayPal when an individual or business has more than 200 online payment transactions that total over $20,000. Credit card payment processors may also issue 1099-K forms.
- B – Individuals who sell stock will receive a 1099-B from their mutual fund company or brokerage. This form details the date the stock was sold, the cost of it, and the amount it was sold for.
As a Business, You Need to Have Your 1099 Forms Prepared Correctly
It goes without saying that any business that issues 1099s must make certain that the forms are prepared correctly and are issued on time. Being late can result in fines, while sending out incorrect forms can cost you time and money in correcting and resubmitting them. Fortunately, most businesses will only need to deal with one or two types of 1099s.
While a 1099 is a fairly simple form to fill out, you will still need a professional bookkeeper on your side to make certain you submit the correct payment amount to the right contractor or other individual. If you don’t have a bookkeeper of your own, you may want to work with a virtual bookkeeper. These experts are just as skilled and knowledgeable as local bookkeepers.
The team here at Protea Financial is ready to assist you with all of your bookkeeping and other financial needs. We can track contractor payments, assist with 1099s, and much more. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you.
Let Us Know if You Have Questions
If you still want help understanding a 1099 or what it is used for, then reach out to us here at Protea Financial. We are here to help!