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 2017 tax year forms, the filing deadline is January 31, 2018. There are no extensions allowed for this deadline. You can find 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.

What is a "Non-employee?"

The IRS uses the term "non-employee" to include anyone who provides services to another individual or business. It's a broad category, including freelancers, private contractors (like maintenance services), and outsourcing companies. 

Who Must Receive a 1099-MISC Form?

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.

In addition to the minimum monetary amount, the 1099-MISC form is used to record payments to non-employees, including: 

  • Excess golden parachute payments
  • Medical and health care payments

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. 

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 (your business)
  • 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.

Before you Prepare Form 1099-MISC

You will need two things before you begin:

  •  A W-9 form signed by the non-employee, in order to gather information on the person's contact information and also, more important, a taxpayer ID number for that person. If you don't have a taxpayer ID ​or the ID is wrong, you may have to begin withholding taxes (called backup withholding) from the person's 1099 earnings.
  • The total payments for that person or business for the year. Remember, if you haven't paid $600 to that person during the year, you don't need to complete a 1099-MISC form (but the person must still report all the income received). 

    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 of January 31.

    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.