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How to create and track 1099 forms: your step by step guide

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Updated on:
May 25, 2023
May 25, 2023
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Key Takeaway

A 1099 Form is of the utmost importance for intrepid business owners. Understanding the right documents to use at the right time is imperative to success in business. By familiarizing yourself with creating your 1099 forms, you can properly meet your tax obligations and remain on top.

In this article, we will talk all about creating and executing your own 1099 forms. This step-by-step guide will discuss what these forms are and how you, as a small business owner can use them to their full potential. So let’s get into it.

A 1099 form is crucial if you’re running a small business and need to remain compliant with the IRS. Understanding what it is, and when to use it will make business much easier for you in the long-run.

1099 is quite different from a W-2 form. The IRS Form W-2 is an employee's Wage and Tax Statement. It is a record that depicts ab employee's salary, their taxes, and benefits. It is important to note that a W-2 is only for part-time or full-time employees or personnel.

1099 forms, however state how much is paid to a nonemployee worker such as freelancers and independent contractors. It lists their compensation, any federal tax, state, and local taxes withheld for a year.

Understanding the creation and utilization of the 1099 form can provide you with a range of benefits. It can allow you to report nonemployee payments and maintain proper records. It can also showcase your professionalism in your firm and establish transparency, thereby fostering trust.

Understanding the basics of a 1099 form

The 1099 form is used for reporting various types of income apart from salaries, wages, and tips. It records the payment of individuals or entities who are not contractual employees. The primary purpose of these forms is to track the income that may be subjected to taxation.

Types of 1099 forms

There are many different kinds of 1099 forms. Here are some common types.

  1. 1099-MISC: This form is widely used to depict miscellaneous income. It reports payments of $600 or more to independent contractors and freelancers. This includes payments for professional services, royalties, rent, and much more.
  2. 1099-INT: This form highlights interest income. It reports interest income of $10 or more paid to individuals or entities. This includes interest earned from bank accounts, investments, and loans.
  3. 1099-DIV: This form depicts dividends and distributions. A 1099-DIV reports dividend income of $10 or more, paid to shareholders by mutual funds, corporations, or investment vehicles.
  4. 1099-R: This form reports the distribution from pensions, annuities, retirement or profit-sharing plans, IRAs, insurance contracts, etc.
  5. 1099-B: This form indicates proceeds from broker and barter exchange transactions. It reports income from selling stocks, commodities, bonds, and other financial instruments.

Who needs to issue and receive a 1099 form?

You need to issue a 1099 form if you have paid $600 or more to individuals for their services. As a small business owner, it can record your transactions with independent contractors and freelancers, making it much easier to run your firm.

Likewise, if you are playing the part of the service provider to someone else, then you’re obligated to receive a 1099 form from them. It is important to have this form and report this income on your tax returns.

Gathering the necessary information

You must gather the necessary information when creating accurate and effective 1099 forms. Here is what you need to look out for.

Identifying the payee and payer information

You need accurate and up to date information about the payer and the recipient. This includes the names, addresses and contact details of both parties.

When identifying the payee or payer, be sure to provide accurate information. The details should match the information registered with the IRS. This reduces the likelihood of errors in transactions.

Required identification numbers

If your recipient is an individual, you would need their Social Security Number. If they’re an organization or company, then you require their Employee Identification Number.

Income details and amounts

Gathering accurate information regarding the amounts to report on the 1099 form is important. Here is what you should consider.

  1. Nonemployee compensation: If the form you’re sending reports the payments made to noncontract employees, then you need to note the total amount you paid during the tax year.
  2. Interests, dividends, and distributions: You have to collect the information regarding the income your recipients received. You need to include any interest payments, dividends and distributions if any.
  3. Broker and barter exchange transactions: In the form, you might also need to include the reports about sales of stocks and commodities. Be sure to include all the associated information such as dates of sale and description of the property too.

Software options for small business owners

There are many different software options to choose from if you’re handling the financials of an SME. Consider the options below and see what suits your business best:

  1. Bonsai: Bonsai is an all-in-one software that allows for easy tax and form filing. Bonsai offers a comprehensive range of features that assist in bookkeeping, client management, CRM, contract management, and so much more. It is perfect for small business owners.
  2. QuickBooks: QuickBooks offers a comprehensive accounting software suite with 1099 preparation and filing features. It integrates seamlessly with its accounting software, making it a popular choice for small businesses.
  3. Tax1099: Tax1099 is a cloud-based platform specializing in 1099 form preparation and filing. It offers various features like data import, form validation, and electronic filing options.
  4. Track1099: Track1099 is another cloud-based software option that simplifies the process of preparing and filing 1099 forms. It offers data import, form validation, and e-filing capabilities.
  5. Intuit TurboTax: TurboTax, known for its tax preparation software, also provides options for handling 1099 forms. It integrates with its tax preparation software, making it convenient for businesses already using TurboTax.

Determining the appropriate 1099 form

When it comes to using the right kind of 1099 form to use and create, you need to consider the following.

  1. 1099-MISC: This form reports miscellaneous income of $600 or more, which is paid to non-contractual employees. This form reports payments but also considers other types of income, including rents, royalties, and awards. The IRS has introduced a separate 1099-NEC from 2020 that also reports nonemployee compensation.
  2. 1099-INT: This form represents an income of $10 or more paid to an individual. It includes interest earned from loans, bank accounts, and other investments.
  3. 1099-DIV: This form reports dividend income of $10 or more that is paid to shareholders by mutual funds, corporations, or other investment vehicles.
  4. 1099-R: This form reports distributions from retirement accounts, annuities, retirement accounts, or similar plans.
  5. 1099-B: This form reports the proceeds from selling stocks, commodities, bonds, and financial instruments.

Aligning the form with the need

To determine which 1099 form to use for the situation, consider the income you must report. Review the instructions for each form to ensure it aligns with the situation.

When you use the appropriate form, the IRS can accurately identify and track the income of each transaction. This helps both, the payee and the payer and keeps them compliant with the IRS regulations.

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Completing the 1099 form

Creating and finishing your own 1099 form can be difficult for newcomers. As such, we developed this handy guide to walk you through the entire process.

Step 1: Obtain the correct form

Ensure that you have the proper version of the 1099 form. It should match the type of income you're reporting. You can download these forms from the IRS.gov website.

Step 2: Enter the information

You must provide your business information. Provide your full name, address as well as your taxpayer information. The recipient’s information should also be provided.

Step 3: Choose the correct box

Each box on the form indicates a specific type of payment. You can review the instructions provided with the form to determine what you should use. When you know what box to choose, enter the appropriate amounts in them.

Step 4: Report income accurately

Enter the income that you are reporting in the boxes. You must ensure that you include all the applicable income for the form you're using.

Step:5 Add additional information

Sometimes, you may need to add additional details in the fields and checkboxes provided. Follow the instructions written on them to add whatever information is required.

Step 6: Retain copies and distribute

Keep a copy of the forms with you for your record-keeping. Then, provide a copy to the recipient by the deadline. The deadline is usually January 31st.

Step 7: File copy with the IRS

Submit the required copy of the forms to the IRS. If you are filing a small number of forms, you can mail them. However, for many forms, you can file them electronically through IRS' FIRE system.

Handling special cases

When developing your forms, you may run into exceptional cases. For instance, some types of payments, such as personal payments, may not require a 1099 form. Referring to the IRS guidelines, consulting with a professional is the best way to ease uncertainties.

However, if the recipient’s number is incorrect or crucial information is missing, it is best to contact the IRS directly. This is a possible case that may require special handling.

Understanding the 1099-MISC reporting

Form 1099-MISC is one of the most commonly used forms. This section will delve deeper into what this form represents and how best to use it.

Reporting non-employee compensation

This form reports the payments made to nonemployees such as freelancers or independent contractors. Before tax year 2020, nonemployee compensation was reported on Box 7 of Form 1099-MISC.

However, starting from the tax year 2020, the IRS introduced a separate form called 1099-NEC (Nonemployee Compensation) specifically for reporting nonemployee compensation.

As a result, Box 7 of Form 1099-MISC is now reserved for reporting direct sales of $5,000 or more of consumer products made by a buyer for resale anywhere other than a permanent retail establishment.

Identifying miscellaneous income categories

Form 1099-MISC covers various miscellaneous income categories apart from compensation. It includes the following as well.

  1. Rent
  2. Royalties
  3. Prizes and awards
  4. Other income, such as healthcare payments, etc.

Guidelines for reporting independent contractor income

As stated, reporting independent contractor income is done on a 1099 form rather than a W-2 form. The income earned by independent contractors is considered nonemployee compensation. It is reported on Form 1099-NEC (Non-employee Compensation) or, in certain cases, on Form 1099-MISC (Box 7 before tax year 2020).

Reporting requirements and thresholds

When hiring independent contractors, businesses must report their non-employee compensation if it meets the $600 threshold. It is important to note that if you pay less than $600, it can still be useful to issue 1099 for record-keeping.

Ensure that you have accurate information in regard to payment details and contact information. Include all the required fields such as SSN, EIN, address, etc.

Including relevant expenses and deductions

When you’re reporting income, you should include any relevant expenses or deductions. There are certain expenses that can be deducted from your taxable income. Be sure to highlight them.

Remember to consult with a tax professional or refer to IRS guidelines to determine the specific rules and requirements for deducting expenses related to independent contractor income. Proper documentation and record-keeping are important to support your expense deductions and ensure compliance with IRS regulations.

Reporting income for other 1099 forms

There are some key differences between the different types of 1099 forms. Let's explore them and build a better understanding.

  1. 1099-INT:. You need to accurately report the total interest paid in Box 1 and identify any early withdrawal penalties in Box 2. You can also report backup withholding in Box 4 if it is applicable. When using this form, the payer is responsible for reporting the interest income and providing the payee with a copy of it.
  2. 1099-DIV: You should include the total dividends and distributions in Box 1a and the qualified dividends in Box 1b. The capital gains distributions can be reported in Box 2a.
  3. 1099-K: This form is used to report payment card and third-party transactions. The reporting threshold for this card is $20,000 in gross receipts and 200 transactions. It is important to properly report the total amount of gross receipts in Box 1a and the number of transactions in Box 5.

Addressing common mistakes and errors

When creating and filing 1099 forms, avoid these common mistakes.

  1. Incorrect information: Providing wrong or incomplete information is a common mistake people make. The details you provide should match the IRS records, so double-check before completing the form.
  2. Missed deadlines: Failing to meet the deadlines can result in penalties. Adhere to deadlines for each form and remember to send copies to the payee on time. The deadline for most 1099 forms is January 31st.
  3. Incorrect amounts: You must report the total income or payments to each payee. Double-check and calculate the amount again before reporting the income.
  4. Ignoring exemptions and thresholds: Each form has its own thresholds which you need to consider. You may be exempt from reporting for certain payments, such as personal payments and certain business expenses. You should consider and adhere to the guidelines for such matters.
  5. Lack of backup withholding: Backup withholding is the process of withholding a percentage of the payment and remitting it to the IRS. It is usually the case when the recipient’s TIN number is missing from the form. As such, you must ensure you have your recipients' correct TINs.

Filing and distributing the 1099 form

Once you have completed the 1099 forms, you must file them and distribute the copies to the payee and the IRS.

Deadlines for filing the 1099 form

The general deadline for distributing copies is January 31st of the year following the tax year. This applies to most 1099 forms. However, deadlines differ based on the methods used to file the 1099 forms.

Paper filing: Paper filing involves printing out the completed 1099 forms and mailing them to the IRS. Each form you send should be accompanied by a form 1096 that depicts the summary of all the 1099 forms sent.

If you choose to file the forms on paper, then the deadline is generally February 28th, following the tax year. However, the next business day is chosen if the due date falls on a weekend or a federal holiday.

Electronic filing: Electronic filing is more convenient than traditional methods. You can use IRS-approved software or e-file providers to file the forms as a business owner. Electronic filing requires using IRS's FIRE system or an approved Tax Year 2020 electronic filing software.

Electronic filing offers certain advantages over paper filing. For instance, their deadline falls later in the year, in March. However just like paper filing, if the date falls on a weekend of federal holiday, it is then pushed to the next business day.

Providing copies to the payees and the IRS

Apart from filing with the IRS, you must provide copies of the forms to the payees. When providing copies in paper, you should include a Form, 1096 with a copy of each 1099 form.

However, if you opted for electronic filing, you don't need to submit physical copies to the IRS. However, you can still retain a copy for yourself. It is a good practice to do so since you will have to manage your own record-keeping as well.

Retaining copies and record keeping

Keeping copies of your filed 1099 forms is a good practice for maintaining a proper record of transactions. Retaining copies is important for the following reasons.

  1. Compliance: Keeping copies demonstrates your compliance with tax regulations. It serves as evidence that you have fulfilled your reporting obligations and paid what your recipients were due.
  2. Audits and inquiries: Sometimes, the IRS may need to conduct audits. They may also request additional information. Having copies available on hand can save time and make the process easier and simpler.
  3. Documentation for payees: Payees have to receive copies of their 1099 forms for tax filing purposes. Keeping copies means that you can easily provide them with the documentation, thereby earning trust.
  4. Historical records: Historical records can be kept of your business transactions. These can be valuable for future reference and any projections or analyses you may make.

The recommended retention period for records

The IRS recommends retaining records related to file 1099 forms for at least three years from the filing date.

However, sometimes, longer retention periods may be warranted. This often involves cases when records need to be retained for longer periods of time, such as state requirements, legal considerations, and business needs.

1099 form compliance and penalties

You have to comply with the regulations of the IRS. Failing to do so can result in harsh penalties.

  1. Fines: The IRS imposes fines for non-compliance. The more serious the transgression, the bigger the fine To avoid paying fines, try to file the documents before the deadline.
  2. Increased scrutiny: Non-compliance can raise red flags with the IRS and may increase scrutiny of your business's tax filings. This will increase the likelihood of audits and inquiries.
  3. Loss of deductions: Failure to report income and expenses may result in loss of deductions. These have the potential to increase your tax liability. As such, it is advised to

Benefits of utilizing software for 1099 forms

When it comes to filing 1099 forms, using specialized software can offer a significant advantage. Business owners and freelancers can augment their operations and enhance their productivity using these.

  1. Efficiency and time-saving: Software can automate many aspects of the process of filing and preparing 1099 forms. They can streamline the workflow by automating calculations and using data from pre-made spreadsheets.
  2. Accuracy and compliance: Software can ensure accuracy due to its built-in validation checks that ensure all information is correct. They can also help you keep track of deadlines and maintain compliance with IRS regulations.
  3. Cost-saving: While certain types of software have a significant cost attached to them, the potential returns easily outweigh the investment. The ROI for this software is quite good, and it can reduce labor and time investment in the long run.
  4. Record-keeping: The data management capabilities of software cannot be understated. They can easily help with saving data and keeping records for the long term.
  5. Integration capabilities: Many software offer integration capabilities to help you transfer data from popular software such as bookkeeping applications.

Trusted resources and assistance for creating 1099 forms

Preparing and filing 1099 forms is a complex process. However, there are many resources where you can find assistance. Both IRS and professional assistance avenues are open to explore.

  1. The IRS website: irs.gov is the official website of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is a valuable resource for form preparation and provides adequate guidance to those having difficulty. You can find publications and instructions on the website that make the process easier and seamless.
  2. Professional assistance: Apart from the IRS itself, you can also find help by contacting tax professionals. They can give you advice and counseling on what to do and how to do. Inquiring with bookkeepers and accounting professionals is also a good option.


If you are still facing difficulty understanding and developing your own forms, then these FAQs may set you on the path straight.

What is the deadline for filing a 1099 form?

The deadline for filing a 1099 form depends on the type of form and the method of filing. January 31st following the tax year is the date by which you would have to provide your copies to the recipients and file your forms. This is if you opted to file forms on paper.

If you want to file forms electronically then you would have to wrap up by March 31st. Consider checking the dates periodically to remain aware of any recent changes however.

How do I obtain an employer identification number (EIN)?

You can apply with the IRS to obtain an EIN. You will likely have to submit Form SS-4 and file it. You can also apply for it on mobile. The IRS website has the exact instructions you will need to follow.

Can I correct errors on a filed 1099 form?

Yes, you can. To correct a form, you need to file a corrected version with the IRS and provide a copy of it to the recipient.

Are there any exemptions from issuing a 1099 form?

Yes, there are certain exemptions from issuing a 1099 form. For instance, payments made to corporations or tax-exempt organizations are exempt from a 1099. Likewise, payments for merchandise, telegrams, storage or freight are also not eligible for a 1099.

What are the consequences of not filing a 1099 form?

Not filing a form can result in strict penalties. These include fines, increased scrutiny and loss of deductions.

Can I file a 1099 form electronically?

Yes, you can file a 1099 form electronically. The IRS provides options for electronic filing, which can streamline the process and provide faster filing confirmation. You can use the IRS's FIRE System (Filing Information Returns Electronically) or utilize authorized e-file providers to file your 1099 forms electronically. Electronic filing also helps ensure accuracy and compliance by reducing the risk of transcription errors.

How do I report income for a deceased payee on a 1099 form?

You can report the income of the deceased payee under their name and TIN. If they passed away during the tax year, you should report the income up to their date of death.

What happens if I report incorrect information on a 1099 form?

If you reported incorrect information of a form, you can be subject to penalties. To avoid that, you can send ahead a corrected version of the form. This will keep you on the safe side and protect you from any potential penalties.


Throughout this article, we discussed what Form 1099 is and how it is used. We initially analyzed the fundamentals of Form 1099. We then highlighted the importance of gathering the necessary information and determining the appropriate form format.

Afterward, we went over a step-by-step process of completing the 1099 form. We then discussed the different types of 1099 forms and how to use them. Guidelines for reporting were discussed, as were the common mistakes and how to mitigate them.

We then discussed filing, distributing, and retaining copies of 1099 forms to avoid penalties. Lastly, we discussed the benefits of using software to develop and file forms and resources to help you complete your own forms.

If you want to avoid harsh penalties and fines, then learning and understanding all you can is best before proceeding. Articles like this can help you build a greater understanding of forms. They can even help you be more proficient at completing them.

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