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What is Form 1099-NEC and what should you do with it?

3 min read
Jennifer Dunn

If you’ve worked as an independent contractor during the past year, a Form 1099-NEC should have landed in your mailbox or inbox around the end of January. Not sure what you should be doing with this form? Let’s talk about it.

Disclaimer: This content should not be construed as legal or financial advice. Always consult an attorney or financial advisor regarding your specific legal or financial situation. 

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What is Form 1099-NEC?

The 1099-NEC, Nonemployee Income, is an informational form that U.S. businesses are required to send to people they paid more than $600 for services during the last calendar year.

According to the IRS:

  • You do not necessarily have to have a business for payments for your services to be reported on Form 1099-NEC. You may simply perform services as a non-employee.
  • The payer has determined that an employer-employee relationship does not exist in your case. You can learn more about that here.

So, what do you do if you’re one of those independent contractors who gets the form?

Screenshot of 2024 1099-NEC form

Compare it with your own books

The very first thing you want to do when you receive Form 1099-NEC is to look at the total in Box 1 – Nonemployee Compensation and determine whether it matches your financial records.

Why is it so important to confirm that your 1099-NEC is correct? The IRS gets a copy of it, too. That means it has tax implications for you.

What if your Form 1099-NEC is wrong?

Let’s say your client paid you $1,000 to design a logo, but they accidentally double-reported that amount and told the IRS they paid you $2,000. As far as the IRS is concerned, you made that $2,000 in income and now owe income tax on it. Ouch!

If you find that your 1099-NEC is incorrect, contact the company that issued it ASAP.

If the company has already filed the erroneous 1099-NEC with the IRS, then it will take more effort on their part to correct the error, but most reputable companies are scrupulous about their bookkeeping and will help you out.

If you can’t get your form changed by the company that issued it, just be sure your own financial records back up your story.

What if you don’t receive Form 1099-NEC?

Maybe you think you should receive a Form 1099-NEC from a client, but you never get one.

As an entrepreneur, it seems like you have to cross every “t” and dot every “i” yourself. But in this case, you’re actually not obligated to do anything. This was your client’s obligation, and if they fail to send you a Form 1099-NEC, they can face stiff penalties.

That said, just because you didn’t receive a tax form doesn’t mean that your income from that client isn’t taxable.

Report all of your income on your Schedule C whether your clients fulfill their reporting obligations or not.

When it comes to taxes, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

The 1099-NEC was discontinued by the IRS in 1982, but has been reinstated due to some changes to tax form due dates mandated by the Protect Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015. So don’t be surprised if you see a new tax form in your mailbox or inbox in January of 2024!