The 1099 Form: A Comprehensive Guide for Businesses and Freelancers

The 1099 form stands out from all other documentation as it’s critical for businesses, independent contractors, and freelancers. The 1099 is more than just a piece of paper; it’s a testament to the professional engagements and financial transactions that define the gig economy. This guide aims to demystify the 1099 form, helping you understand its purpose, know when and how to issue it, and what information is crucial for its accuracy.

First, What is the 1099 form?

The 1099 form is an IRS tax form used to report income from non-employment-related sources. It is a way for the IRS to track income that you’ve received from other sources, aside from your regular salary. There are multiple types of 1099 forms, each tailored to different types of income, we’ll be going over each of them here.

Who should receive a 1099 form?

Are you wondering who should receive a 1099 form, it’s like this: If you’ve made some money — but not from a regular job — like earning from stocks or working as a freelancer, and it’s $600 or more in a year, then the business or person who paid you should send you this form. But, there are a few exceptions. For example, even if you just earn $15 as interest from your bank or any financial service provider, they’re supposed to send you a 1099 form for that too.

Here’s a simple way to understand who usually gets a 1099 form from the IRS, according to the IRS themselves:

  • If you’re an independent contractor who got paid for your services, goods, or even for travel, and also received benefits.
  • Professionals like accountants, engineers, or architects who provided their services.
  • Salespeople who aren’t employees but earn commissions.
  • Entertainers who aren’t on your payroll but perform services related to your business.
  • Professionals who got paid because they referred someone or shared a fee with another professional.
  • And, certain individuals received ‘golden parachute’ payments, which are large sums given typically after a company merger or acquisition.

Types of 1099 form

There are several types of 1099s, depending on the type of income earned during the tax year. Here are some of the most popular:

1099-NEC: This form is for people who are not employees but got paid $600 or more for work they did, like freelancers, independent contractors, or those with side gigs. It includes money from jobs like graphic design, writing, or web development and also covers fees, commissions, and even payments to lawyers over $600.

Even if you’re self-employed and made less than $600 (so you won’t get a 1099-NEC), remember you still have to report all your income when filing taxes.

1099-INT: If you earned more than $10 in interest during the year, maybe from a bank or investment, you’ll get this form.

1099-K: For 2023, companies like online marketplaces or payment apps will send this form if they paid you over $600. In 2024, the threshold is planned to be $5,000.

1099-DIV: If you received dividend income, like cash payments from owning stocks or shares, this form is for you.

1099-G: Received money from the government, like a tax refund or unemployment benefits? Expect this form.

1099-R: This one is for distributions from things like pensions, retirement plans, or IRAs. Some annuities and life insurance payouts are also reported here.

1099-B: If you sold stocks, commodities, or had other securities transactions, you’ll see them listed on this form. It also includes certain bartering transactions.

1099-S: Sold or exchanged real estate this year? Look for this form, covering things like homes, land, and buildings.

1099-SA: This form is for distributions from health savings accounts, medical savings, and Medicare Advantage accounts.

1099-MISC: This is the most popular as it’s for income that doesn’t fit the other categories, like money from prizes or awards.

1099-PATR: Got dividends from a cooperative or payments related to farming? This is the form for you.

Timing is Everything: When to Issue a 1099

The timing of issuing a 1099 form is as important as issuing it. Generally, businesses must send out 1099 forms to contractors by January 31st of the year following payment. This deadline ensures that contractors have sufficient time to file their taxes accurately.

Gathering Information: A Proactive Approach

The key to a seamless 1099 process is gathering the necessary information well before the deadline. This means requesting a completed W-9 form from any contractor you pay more than $600 in a year. The W-9 will provide you with their legal name, address, and Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) – all crucial for accurately completing the 1099 form.


The 1099 form is a vital component of tax compliance for businesses and freelancers alike. By understanding its purpose, knowing when and how to issue it, and proactively gathering the required information, you can navigate tax season with confidence and ease. Remember, staying informed and organized is the key to managing your 1099 obligations effectively.

If you need any help with your 1099 form or your taxes this year, you can contact us or set up a free 15-minute call with me.

Our Mission is to help business owners optimize their profit while paying the least amount of taxes legitimately using strategic opportunities availed by law to effectively partner with the IRS as they build an empire and legacy for their generation, accumulate the wealth they can enjoy during their lifetime and pass on to their loved ones at their demise.

If you’d like that level of certainty and clarity, click Book your free 15-minute consultation with Tobi Agbejimi, CPA.