1099-MISC Form for Reporting Non-Employee Income

Coworkers having discussion at office
Klaus Vedfelt/Taxi/Getty Images

Important Change: Filing Deadline Changes for 1099-MISC Forms

The deadline for filing 1099-MISC forms and 1096 transmittal forms with the IRS has been changed. For 2016 forms, the filing deadline is January 31, 2017. Details in this article about the 2017 annual payroll tax report deadlines.

 What is a 1099-MISC Form?

A 1099-MISC form is used to report miscellaneous income (sometimes called "non-employee income") to the IRS.

It is an annual wage report form, meaning that it must be prepared, given to workers, and submitted to the IRS, early in the year, for the previous tax year.

Who Must Receive a 1099-MISC Form?

This form is used to record payments to non-employees, including: 

  • Income earned by an independent contractor but not an employee
  • Fees, commissions, rents, or royalties paid
  • Payment for prizes, awards, or legal services
  • Excess golden parachute payments
  • Medical and health care payments

If you paid $600 or more to a non-employee or $10 or more in royalties during the year, you must send that person a 1099-MISC showing the total amount you paid for that year. See this article about who must receive a 1099-MISC form, for more details. 

Before a non-employee can receive a 1099-MISC, they must complete a W-9 form (it's similar to a W-4 form that new employees must complete at hire. The W-9 form includes name and address and, most important, the recipient's tax identification number.


How is a 1099-MISC Different from a W-2 Form? 

W-2 forms are the year-end wage and tax reports given to employees. A W-2 form  shows the gross taxable earnings of the employees, as well as federal/state withholding and FICA taxes (Social Security and Medicare). 1099-MISC forms are given to non-employees, showing amounts of payments during the year.

In most cases, no taxes are withheld, and there's no FICA tax withholding. 

What are the Deadlines for 1099-MISC Forms? 

Submitting to Recipients:  The 1099-MISC must be submitted to the payee by January 31 of the following year, so they can use the form to prepare their income taxes.

Filing with the IRS: The 1099-MISC must be submitted to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by January 31, for the previous year, effective with forms for the 2016 tax year, as explained above. 

The exact date changes each year, based on when the deadline falls. If the deadline is a holiday or weekend, the deadline is the next business day. 

For more details about the exact deadlines for submitting 1099-MISC forms in the current year to workers and to the IRS, see this article with deadlines for the most recent tax year. 

How to File 1099-MISC Forms with the IRS 

If you are submitting paper copies of all 1099-MISC forms, you can submit along with a Form 1096 transmittal form.  Be sure you get the correct forms for paper filing. 

It's easier to submit 1099-MISC forms electronically. In this case, you don't need the 1096 transmittal forms. 

What Does a 1099-MISC Form Look Like? 

The 1099-MISC is a multi-part form.

  • Copy A is submitted to the IRS by the payer
  • Copy 1 is submitted to the state tax department by the payer
  • Copy B is for the recipient
  • Copy 2 is given to the recipient for filing with the state tax return.
  • Copy C is kept by the payer.

How Do I Prepare Form 1099-MISC? 

This article takes you step-by-step through the process of completing Form 1099-MISC. You will first need to collect information about each payee. If you don't have a W-9 form signed, you will need to get one. Remember the earlier deadline starting in 2017.