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What is a 1099 form? A guide for companies with US contractors

Here is a short summary, 2024 IRS Form 1099 guide: Differences in 1099-MISC & NEC, e-filing threshold lowered to 10 forms, new 1099-DA for digital assets.

What is Form 1099?

The 1099 form is used by businesses to report payments made to non-employees, such as stateside contractors or remote workers overseas, to the IRS. This form is specifically for US workers. For instance, you won’t need a 1099 for a UK employee working in China, but you would need it for an American contractor located in China. As the payer, you are responsible for completing the reporting form with all the necessary information regarding the payments made throughout the tax year.

What’s the difference between Form 1099-MISC and Form 1099-NEC?

Until 2020, businesses used Form 1099-MISC to report payments made to contractors, freelancers, and individuals for various types of income. However, due to differing due dates, there were opportunities for misuse of the system. Starting in 2021, the IRS reintroduced Form 1099-NEC for reporting payments made to non-employee individual taxpayers for services rendered. Here are the main differences between these tax documents:

  • Form 1099-MISC: This form is no longer used to report payments to contractors. It is now used for reporting other types of taxable income such as rental income, prizes and awards, other income payments, and medical and healthcare payments.
  • Form 1099-NEC: Businesses, individuals, and payroll departments should use this form to report non-employee compensation for services rendered. Non-employees can include contractors, freelancers, and other taxpayers.

For more information, you can refer to the official IRS pages for Form 1099-MISC and Form 1099-NEC.

1099-MISC form

The 1099-MISC is no longer used to report payments to contractors. Instead, it is used to report other types of taxable income, such as:

  • Rental income
  • Prizes and awards
  • Other income payments
  • Medical and health care payments

1099-NEC form

Businesses, individuals, and payroll departments should use Form 1099-NEC to report non-employee compensation for services rendered. These non-employees could include contractors, freelancers, and other taxpayers.

How do I get a 1099 form?

You can easily download blank 1099 forms from the IRS website. You can also order physical copies from the IRS itself. Here’s the IRS page for ordering tax forms online.

Contractors don’t have to worry about downloading Form 1099 themselves. They can expect their payee to send the form to them so they can complete it.

How to hire and pay independent contractors in the United States

Use this helpful guide designed for hiring managers and HR leaders to learn how to compliantly hire and pay independent contractors in the United States.

How to complete Form 1099 in 4 steps

Completing Form 1099 is a fairly straightforward process. Follow these simple steps to fill it out correctly before filing it with the IRS:

Step 1: Fill out separate Form 1099s with the name, address, and total amount paid to each contractor

Ask each of your self-employed taxpayers to provide you with their Form W-9. You’ll need this information to fill out some of the elements on Form 1099. Fill out the following information on the 1099:

  • Your name, address, and phone number
  • The legal name of your contractor
  • Your contractor’s business name
  • Your contractor’s personal address
  • Your contractor’s Social Security number or Taxpayer Identification Number
  • How you paid your contractor throughout the tax year

Step 2: File Copy A with the IRS

Copy A of Form 1099 must be sent to the IRS. Make sure to complete this step by the deadline.

You’ll also need to send Copy 1 to the relevant state’s Department of Revenue.

Step 3: Send Copy B to the independent contractor

Next, you’ll need to make sure that your contractor receives Copy B. The contractor will need this form to file their taxes.

Step 4: Keep Copy C for yourself

You’ll need to keep Copy C of Form 1099 for your business records. The document keeps track of your wage expense — important information you’ll need for your company tax return.

Filing Deadline for Form 1099

The IRS mandates that Form 1099-NEC, used to report non-employee compensation, must be submitted to both the IRS and the payee by January 31st of the year following the payment year. If this date falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline is extended to the next business day. For electronic filings, the deadline extends to March 31. It’s also crucial to file Copy 1 with your state’s tax department, where applicable.

Penalties for Late Filing

Penalties for not filing Form 1099 on time can be significant, varying based on how late the filing is. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Up to 30 days late: $60 per form, with a maximum annual penalty of $630,500 ($220,500 for small businesses).
  • More than 30 days late but by August 1: $120 per form, with a maximum annual penalty of $1,891,500 ($630,500 for small businesses).
  • After August 1 or not filed: $310 per form, with a maximum annual penalty of $3,783,000 ($1,261,000 for small businesses).

It’s noted that “small businesses” are defined by the IRS as those having $5 million or less in average annual revenue over the past three years.

Remote Contractor Management

Remote simplifies the 1099 form creation and distribution process for US-based companies dealing with eligible US-based contractors. By automating the pre-filling of 1099-NEC forms at the start of January, Remote ensures timely compliance with IRS regulations. The platform notifies company admins when forms are ready and facilitates the distribution of finalized PDFs to contractors, either individually or in bulk.

Additional Considerations

  • Exceptions to Penalties: The IRS may waive penalties for late filing if the delay was due to circumstances beyond your control, such as natural disasters. However, intentional disregard of filing requirements can lead to a minimum penalty of $570 per form without a maximum limit.
  • E-Delivery of Forms: The IRS allows for electronic delivery of payee statements, provided certain guidelines are followed, ensuring flexibility in how you provide these crucial tax documents to recipients.

For detailed instructions on filing Form 1099, understanding penalties, and leveraging Remote for efficient contractor payment management, it’s advisable to consult directly with the IRS or a tax professional. These insights aim to assist you in navigating the complexities of tax compliance while minimizing the risk of penalties due to late or incorrect filings.

For further information, you can visit the IRS website on Information Return Penalties, Finally’s guide on 1099 Reporting Requirements, and eFile360’s breakdown of 1099 filing penalties to ensure you’re fully prepared for the upcoming tax season.

FAQ Section: Understanding Form 1099 for U.S. and Foreign Companies

What is a 1099 form in the USA?

Form 1099 is a series of documents the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses to report various types of income other than wages, salaries, and tips. It is used to report payments made in the course of a trade or business to others for services. For example, if you are self-employed or work as an independent contractor, the company you work for may issue you a Form 1099-NEC to report what they paid you.

Does a foreign company need to issue a 1099 to a US contractor?

Yes, a foreign company must issue a Form 1099 to a U.S. contractor if it engages the contractor for business purposes within the United States. If the services are performed in the U.S., the foreign company has a tax obligation to report the payments to the IRS.

Is 1099 only for US citizens?

No, Form 1099 is not only for U.S. citizens. It is required for any individual or entity, including foreign contractors, who provides services to a U.S. company and meets the threshold for reporting, assuming that the services are performed in the United States. The key factor is the tax obligation to the U.S. tax system, not the citizenship of the service provider.

How do I declare a 1099?

If you receive a Form 1099, you must report the income on your tax return. For individuals, this typically means reporting the income on Schedule C (Profit or Loss from Business) if you are self-employed, or on Schedule 1 (Additional Income and Adjustments to Income) attached to Form 1040 for other types of income reported on a 1099. Ensure to declare all 1099 income to the IRS to avoid penalties for underreporting income.

Stay compliant when hiring contractors

Filing Form 1099 might seem like a small detail, but you must not overlook it if you want to stay compliant and avoid penalties when paying independent contractors that pay their taxes in the US.

In need of assistance managing your overseas payroll? Remote can help save you time and give you peace of mind. Our platform allows you to manage all the forms required for tax compliance in one place and automate the entire payroll process.

Managing Contractor Payments and Tax Compliance: An Overview of Form 1099 and Remote Solutions

Form 1099 is a critical document used by businesses in the United States to report payments made to non-employees, such as contractors and freelancers, to the IRS. The form is necessary for US workers, including those located overseas, but not for employees working outside the US for foreign companies. The IRS distinguishes between two types of 1099 forms: Form 1099-MISC, which is now used for reporting various types of income other than non-employee compensation, such as rental income and prizes, and Form 1099-NEC, reintroduced to specifically report non-employee compensation. To file a 1099 form, businesses must collect relevant information from their contractors, fill out the form with payment details, file Copy A with the IRS, send Copy B to the contractor, and retain Copy C for their records. The deadline for filing is January 31st of each tax year, and failing to meet this deadline can result in penalties ranging from $60 to $630, depending on how late the filing is.

The process of managing 1099 forms can be simplified using Remote Contractor Management, a platform that automates the creation and distribution of 1099-NEC forms for US-based companies with eligible US contractors. This platform pre-fills forms based on contractor payments, notifies company admins when forms are ready, and assists in distributing them to contractors, ensuring compliance with US tax laws. Remote offers a solution for businesses to manage overseas payroll and contractor payments efficiently, ensuring that tax compliance and payroll processes are handled seamlessly.

Resources Section: Understanding and Filing Form 1099

For those navigating the complexities of Form 1099, below is a curated list of resources offering detailed guidance on filing requirements, deadlines, penalties, and management solutions for 2024. These resources can assist both U.S.-based businesses and foreign entities in maintaining compliance with IRS regulations and leveraging technology for efficient tax reporting.

IRS Official Resources

  • Form 1099 General Information: For an overview of various Form 1099 requirements, visit the IRS’s official page.
  • Information Return Penalties: Understand the penalties for late or incorrect filings on the IRS Penalties page.

Filing and Compliance Guidance

  • Finally’s 1099 Reporting Requirements Guide for 2024: Offers insights into the entities required to file Form 1099, reportable payments, and thresholds. Access detailed guidance at
  • eFile360 on 1099 Filing Penalties: Delve into the specifics of late filing penalties, exceptions, and how to avoid them on eFile360.

Contractor Payment Management

  • Remote Contractor Management: Learn how Remote simplifies the creation and distribution of 1099 forms for U.S.-based companies and contractors. Visit Remote’s official site for more information on their services.

Dispute and Penalty Relief

  • Bench’s Guide on Handling 1099 Late Filing Penalties: Provides practical advice on disputing penalties and seeking relief. Check out the guide at

Electronic Filing Systems

  • Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS): For electronic filing and payments, the EFTPS is a secure government platform. Learn more and enroll at the EFTPS website.

Tax Professional Assistance

  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA): If you need to consult with a tax professional, the AICPA offers resources to find certified accountants. Visit AICPA for more details.

Additional IRS Tools and Forms

  • Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification (Form W-9): Essential for gathering information from contractors before filing Form 1099. Access the form at IRS Form W-9.
  • Payment Plan Options: If penalties are unavoidable, explore payment plan options offered by the IRS at Payment Plans.

These resources aim to provide comprehensive support for effectively managing and filing Form 1099, ensuring compliance, and optimizing contractor payment processes. Always consult a tax professional or the IRS directly for personalized advice and updates on tax regulations.

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