Are You Ready for the 1099-NEC?

The Internal Revenue Service has resurrected a form that has not been used since the early 1980s, Form 1099-NEC (the NEC stands for Non-Employee Compensation). This form will be used to report non-employee compensation in place of the 1099-MISC, which has been used since 1983 to report payments to contract workers and freelancers. Form 1099-MISC has also been used to report rents, royalties, crop insurance proceeds and several other types of income unrelated to independent contractors. 

The revival of the 1099-NEC was mandated by Congress with the passage of the PATH Act back in 2015. However, there have been some complications with implementing the form, so its use has been delayed. It will now make its return debut in 2021 for payments made in 2020. 

The reason for the change is to control fraudulent credit claims—primarily for the earned income tax credit (EITC), which is based on earned income from working. Scammers were filing tax returns before the normal February 28 due date for 1099-MISC, which does not give the IRS the time to cross-check the earned income claimed in the returns. As a stopgap measure, 1099-MISC filings that included non-employee compensation were required to be filed by January 31, the same due date as W-2s, another source of earned income. By using the 1099-NEC for non-employee compensation, the IRS will be able to eliminate the problems created by having two filing dates for the 1099-MISC. 

If you operate a business and engage the services of an individual (independent contractor) other than one who meets the definition of an employee, and you pay him or her $600 or more for the calendar year, you are required to issue the individual a Form 1099-NEC. The form must be issued soon after the end of the year to avoid penalties and the prospect of losing the deduction for his or her labor and expenses in an audit. 

The due date for filing a 1099-NEC with the IRS and mailing the recipient a copy of the 1099-NEC that reports 2020 payments is February 1, 2021. IRS Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification, is provided by the government as a means for you to obtain the vendors’ data you’ll need to accurately file the 1099s. It also provides you with verification that you complied with the law in case a vendor gave you incorrect information. We highly recommend that you have potential vendors complete a Form W-9 prior to engaging in business with them. The W-9 is for your use only and is not submitted to the IRS.

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