IRS 1099 Tax Form Explained: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Understanding the 1099 is a must if you want to file correctly.

Making a certain amount of cash from pursuing a passion or by having your own side gig means you owe taxes, according to the Internal Revenue Service, but you won’t receive a W-2 form as you would from an employer. Instead, you’ll get a 1099 form.

The IRS requires certain 1099 forms to be filed when small businesses or self-employed individuals make or receive payments. You might also receive 1099 forms from certain entities, which detail amounts that are considered taxable income. If you receive a 1099 form, find out everything you need to know to correctly file your self-employment taxes.

What Is a 1099 Form?

A 1099 tax form is a statement generated by any entity or person — excluding your employer — that details an amount of money that you were paid. Copies of the form are sent to both you and the IRS. The type of 1099 you receive can depend on the entity or person — aka the payer — sending the form.

For example, if you’re self-employed, you might receive a 1099-MISC from a client reporting payments made to you. Or you might use the 1099-MISC form to report payments made to others as part of your business. If part of your credit card debt was canceled, you might receive a 1099-C, and if you received interest from a financial institution, you might get a 1099-INT from your bank.

Just because you receive a 1099 tax form doesn’t mean you automatically owe taxes on the income you were paid. You might be able to use deductions or other tax loopholes to eliminate or reduce your tax liability. No matter if you end up owing or not, however, it’s vital that you report the income listed on the 1099 to the IRS if required.

To find out, here’s a summary of 1099 forms and basic requirements for filing them, plus the applicable due dates so you don’t miss a deadline:

1099 Forms at a Glance
1099 FormsTypes of Income ReportedMinimum Reporting RequirementDate Due to RecipientDate Due to IRS
1099-AAcquisition or abandonment of secured property (e.g., foreclosure or repossession)All amountsJan. 31Feb. 28 (paper filing)

March 31 (electronic filing)

1099-BProceeds from broker and barter exchange transactionsAll amountsFeb. 15, except trustees and middlemen of widely held investment trusts — then it’s March 15Feb. 28 (paper filing)

March 31 (electronic filing) 

1099-CCancellation of debt$600 or moreJan. 31Feb. 28 (paper filing)

March 31 (electronic filing)

1099-CAPChanges in corporate control or structureOver $1,000Jan. 31 (shareholders)

Jan. 5 (clearing organization)

Feb. 28 (paper filing)

March 31 (electronic filing)

1099-DIVDividends and distributions$10 or more, except $600 or more for liquidationsJan. 31, except trustees and middlemen of widely held investment trusts — then it’s March 15Feb. 28 (paper filing)

March 31 (electronic filing)

1099-GCertain government payments$10 or more for refunds and unemploymentJan. 31Feb. 28 (paper filing)

March 31 (electronic filing) 

1099-HHealth coverage tax credit advance paymentsAll amountsJan. 31Feb. 28 (paper filing)

March 31 (electronic filing)

1099-INTInterest income$10 or more ($600 in some cases)Jan. 31, except trustees and middlemen of widely held investment trusts — then it’s March 15Feb. 28 (paper filing)

March 31 (electronic filing)

1099-KPayment card transactionsAll amountsJan. 31Feb. 28 (paper filing)

March 31 (electronic filing)

Third-party network transactions$20,000 or more and 200 or more transactions
1099-LTCLong-term care and accelerated death benefitsAll amountsJan. 31Feb. 28 (paper filing)

March 31 (electronic filing)

1099-MISCMiscellaneous income (payments made in the ordinary course of business to someone not your employee)

Note: does not apply to payments made to corporations, with the exception of medical and healthcare payments and fees paid to attorneys. These forms are only required for individuals, partnerships, limited liability companies treated as partnerships, and sole proprietors.

$600 or more for rents; prizes and awards (not for services); services performed by nonemployees and materials; other types of payments not covered by other formsJan. 31 for all, except Feb. 15 for (1) gross payments to attorneys; and (2) substitute dividends and tax-exempt interest payments reportable by brokers. Note: March 15 for trustees and middlemen of widely held investment trustsFeb. 28 (paper filing)

March 31 (electronic filing)

Note: If any payments for nonemployee compensation are reported in box 7, the due date is Jan. 31 for both paper and electronic filing

$5,000 or more of consumer products to anyone for the purpose of resale (i.e., resale doesn’t occur in a permanent retail store)
$10 or more in royalties or broker payments, not including dividends or tax-exempt interest
All amounts paid to fishing boat crew members; income from nonqualified deferred compensation plans
1099-OIDOriginal issue discount$10 or moreJan. 31, except trustees and middlemen of widely held investment trusts — then it’s March 15Feb. 28 (paper filing)

March 31 (electronic filing)

1099-PATRTaxable distributions received from cooperatives$10 or moreJan. 31Feb. 28 (paper filing)

March 31 (electronic filing)

1099-QPayments from qualified education programs (under sections 529 and 530)All amountsJan. 31Feb. 28 (paper filing)

March 31 (electronic filing)

1099-RDistributions from pensions, annuities, retirement or profit-sharing plans, IRAs, insurance contracts, etc.$10 or moreJan. 31Feb. 28 (paper filing)

March 31 (electronic filing)

1099-SProceeds from real estate transactions$600 or moreFeb. 15Feb. 28 (paper filing)

March 31 (electronic filing)

1099-SADistributions from an HSA, Archer MSA or Medicare Advantage MSAAll amountsJan. 31Feb. 28 (paper filing)

March 31 (electronic filing)

RRB-1099Railroad retirement benefitsAll amountsJan. 31Filed by the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board directly with the IRS
SSA-1099Social Security benefitsAll amountsJan. 31Filed by the Social Security Administration directly with the IRS

Find Out: What to Do If You Lost Your W-2

What Is a 1099-A Form?

Form 1099-A, Acquisition or Abandonment of Secured Property, is filed by lenders when a debt is fully or partially satisfied because of foreclosure, repossession or abandonment of the property by the debtor — also known as the person who owes money. Even if you are not in the business of lending money, this form might need to be filed with the IRS with a copy mailed to the debtor or debtors.

When you are the debtor and receive a 1099-A, you should use the information on the form to determine whether the disposition of the property resulted in a gain or loss to you and report that information on your Form 1040, Schedule D.

What Is a 1099-B Form?

Although Form 1099-B, Proceeds From Broker and Barter Exchange Transactions, is filed most commonly by stock brokers, both brokers and those engaging in barter exchanges must file this 1099 form and provide a copy to the person represented in the transaction. When you receive a 1099-B from your broker, you use the information to determine the gain or loss on your stock transaction and report it on your tax return.

Discover: What Is the Difference Between Tax Forms 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ?

What Is a 1099-C Form?

The IRS instructions specifically identify the entities — including banks, credit unions and credit card companies — that must file Form 1099-C, Cancellation of Debt, when a debt of $600 or more is canceled or forgiven. For example, if you settle a $2,000 debt with your creditor for $1,300, your creditor will send you a 1099-C form.

When you receive a 1099-C, locate the amount of the debt that was forgiven and report that information on your tax return. Unfortunately, canceled debt can result in taxable income.

What Is a 1099-CAP Form?

Form 1099-CAP, Changes in Corporate Control and Capital Structure, applies to shareholders of a privately-held corporation that underwent a change in control or a significant change in its capital structure. When you are a shareholder of such a corporation and receive cash, stock or other property, the corporation should file a 1099-CAP with the IRS and provide you with a copy.

What Is a 1099-DIV Form?

Form 1099-DIV, Dividends and Distributions, must be filed by banks and financial institutions when they pay dividends or other distributions on a stock that is $10 or more. You can expect to receive a copy of the form for these types of distributions. The IRS provides detailed instructions on how to report this information on Schedule D of Form 1040.

See: What Is Unrealized Gain or Loss and Is It Taxed?

What Is a 1099-G Form?

All government agencies — federal, state and local — file Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments, if they received payments on a Commodity Credit Corporation loan. Additionally, the agencies must file when payments are made for:

  • Unemployment compensation
  • State or local income tax refunds, credits or offsets
  • Taxable grants
  • Agricultural payments

The taxpayer receiving the payment also receives a copy of the form. For questions or disputes about the information on the form, contact the agency that filed the form with the IRS.

What Is a 1099-H Form?

Form 1099-H, Health Coverage Tax Credit Advance Payments, is filed by providers of qualified health insurance coverage to eligible recipients when the provider receives an advance payment from the Department of the Treasury under the health coverage tax credit. You’ll receive a copy of the filed 1099-H if you qualify to receive advance payments, paid directly to your provider, to help pay for insurance premiums. The information on a 1099-H is used to determine any health coverage tax credit you qualify for when you file your Form 1040.

What Is a 1099-INT Form?

When you earn interest of $10 or more on your checking and savings accounts, your bank will file Form 1099-INT, Interest Income, and send a copy to you. The amount of interest stated on the form is reportable on your tax return. Your financial institution is also required to file this form if it withheld or paid any foreign tax on your interest, or withheld federal income tax from your interest under the backup withholding rules.

What Is a 1099-K Form?

When you use a third-party network transaction as part of your business, such as PayPal, you will receive a copy of Form 1099-K, Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions, when it’s filed by the third party. A 1099-K must be filed when your transactions exceed $20,000 or 200 transactions in number. The information on the 1099-K is used to complete your tax return schedules for your business, such as gross receipts or sales, and expenses.

What Is a 1099-LTC Form?

Insurance companies, government agencies and viatical settlement providers must file Form 1099-LTC, Long-Term Care and Accelerated Death Benefits, whenever benefits are paid under long-term care contracts or death benefits. You will receive a copy of this form for these benefits if you are the insured or the policyholder. However, this does not necessarily mean that the benefits are taxable income: The payment is not taxable to you if you are the insured. For policyholders who receive per diem benefits, certain limitations apply that might result in a portion of the benefits being taxable.

What Is a 1099-MISC Form?

When running a business, this is the most common 1099 form you will either receive or file. The IRS requires you to file Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, for business expenses of at least $600 that you paid to individuals or sole proprietors, partnerships and limited liability companies treated as partnerships. Payments to corporations are excluded, except for healthcare payments and attorneys’ fees. A 1099-MISC form generally applies to payments for your business. Paying more than $600 to your attorney for a personal matter, such as a divorce, does not require a 1099-MISC.

How Do You File a 1099-MISC Tax Form?

You must use the official printed version provided by the IRS, which you can order via the IRS website. Do not use the 1099-MISC that you can download from the IRS website because it is not scannable, and the IRS might penalize you for doing so.

Although anyone can file 1099-MISC forms electronically with IRS e-filing, all businesses that file 250 or more 1099-MISC forms in one year must use the IRS e-filing system.

When you receive a 1099-MISC for services you performed or materials you provided to a customer, you must report this income on your tax return. Typically, you will use Schedule C and attach it to your Form 1040, but do not file the copy of the 1099-MISC that you received.

Don’t wait to make your quarterly estimated tax payment until you receive your 1099-MISC. You must pay quarterly estimated taxes when the income you receive exceeds $1,000, and the deadlines for estimated tax payments are dependent on when you receive a 1099-MISC.

What Is a 1099-OID Form?

An original issue discount applies to bonds or notes that are issued at less than face value, and the discounted amount is considered interest income. Form 1099-OID, Original Issue Discount, is used by stock brokers to report this interest. When you receive this 1099 form from your broker, you should use the information to calculate the taxable OID for your tax return.

What Is a 1099-PATR Form?

You might receive this 1099 form when you receive dividends from a cooperative. Form 1099-PATR, Taxable Distributions Received From Cooperatives, must be filed by cooperatives that paid their members more than a $10 dividend or withheld any federal withholding tax. For-profit cooperative corporations receive special tax treatment by the IRS, and a patronage dividend can be used to reduce taxes.

What Is a 1099-Q Form?

You will receive a 1099-Q if someone contributed money to a qualified education program — under sections 529 and 530 — and named you as beneficiary. The organization or person who manages the program will file the 1099-Q and give you a copy. No tax is due on the distributions you receive if you are in school and use the program money solely for school expenses.

Learn About: Is College Tuition Tax Deductible?

What Is a 1099-R Form?

When you take a distribution from your retirement plan, the custodian of the plan must file a 1099-R and provide you with a copy. When you take distributions from more than one plan, you will receive a separate 1099-R for each plan. The information on the form is used to calculate the taxable amount for your tax return.

What Is a 1099-S Form?

Form 1099-S, Proceeds From Real Estate Transactions, is used to report the sale or exchange of real estate, such as your home, rental property, co-op or any other real estate. In situations where your sale is handled by a title company or attorney, the company or attorney will usually collect the required information and report it.

In certain situations, however, the form does not have to be filed. For example, if the sale price of real estate is less than $250,000 and the property was the seller’s personal residence, the transaction does not have to be reported.

What Is a 1099-SA Form?

When distributions are made from a health savings account, Archer medical savings account or Medicare Advantage medical savings account, directly to you or your medical provider, you will receive a 1099-SA from your plan’s manager. When you use the distributions from the plan for medical purposes, however, you report the distribution yourself by filing Form 8889. The distribution is considered taxable income and is reported on your tax return if the 1099-SA indicates that you did not use the distribution for medical purposes.

What Is an RRB-1099 Form?

When you are a beneficiary of railroad retirement benefits, each January you’ll receive an RRB-1099 from the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board. This form is filed by the RRB directly with the IRS and is used to calculate the taxable amount of the benefits received.

What Is an SSA-1099 Form?

This form is issued directly by the Social Security Administration whenever you receive any Social Security benefits. When you are required to pay income tax on any of the benefits you received, this form provides the information needed to determine the taxable amount.

Read more about the 10 most common IRS tax forms.

More on Taxes

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Barri Segal and Cynthia Measom contributed to the reporting for this article.

About the Author

Joe Stone is a freelance writer residing in the Washington D.C. area who has written professionally since 2005. His articles have been published in several online publications, covering many topics including small business, real estate, retirement, background investigations and legal process. He enjoys writing for a variety of reasons, one of which is to provide clarity to complex issues.