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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What’s a 1099 and why do I care?

Information on the 1099-MISC
A 1099-MISC form serves a similar purpose to an independent contractor as a W-2 does for to an employee. The form reports the total amount of payments you receive from a single person or entity during the year that you provide services to. It includes some of your personal information such as name, address and either Social Security number or employer identification number. Most importantly, it will classify each type of payment in separate boxes on the form depending on the reason for your payment. Generally, if you receive payment for contract work you do, then your annual earnings will appear as nonemployee compensation.

Who is responsible for preparing a 1099-MISC?
Depending on how many different companies or people you receive payments from during the year, you may receive more than one 1099-MISC. Each payer must complete the form if during any year it pays you $600 or more. However, if you earn $500 from 20 different companies, you still must report your income even though you might not receive a single 1099-MISC.

Gardner and Billing CPAs make every effort to get the forms out to recipients by the courtesy date of January 31st, but often the information isn’t available until later.  We file 1099’s for our clients electronically (to the IRS and states) and have a filing deadline March 31st .  

What to do with a 1099-MISC
As an independent contractor or freelancer, you report all earnings on your income tax return just like an employee does, but you do it in a different way. If your freelance work is sporadic and generally not your main source of income, then you can just include the payments in “other income” on the first page of your tax return.

If you work as an independent contractor for substantial periods during the year, then the IRS will treat you as self-employed. Self-employed taxpayers must report 1099-MISC income on a Schedule C attachment to their tax return.

In addition, you are also liable for Social Security and Medicare taxes, which you calculate on Schedule SE and attach to your return.

Advantages of receiving a 1099-MISC
There are some tax advantages to earning nonemployee income on a 1099-MISC. One benefit is that you have more freedom than an employee to claim deductions that relate to your profession.

For example, if it’s necessary to use a computer to complete your work, your eligibility to claim a deduction for it is less restrictive than other taxpayers who must be eligible to itemize their deductions to do so. Furthermore, since you are not subject to withholding, you must make estimated tax payments throughout the year. But since you can calculate precisely what you owe, you can insure that you don’t pay too much in federal income tax during the year. 

Remember to get your 1099 recipient info to Gardner & Billing CPAs as soon as possible so that we may attempt to issue your 1099s by the courtesy date of January 31st!  If you are unsure who should receive a 1099, just bring us your financial record (bank statements, QuickBooks, Quicken, farm book) and we will determine the 1099s you are obligated to file.