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What is IRS Tax Form 1099 ?
Internal Revenue Service form 1099 actually refers to a series of twenty-three forms. Most people are specifically referring to form 1099-MISC when they simply say “form 1099”. This form is an income tax form which collects information about income from sources other than tips, hourly wages, or salaries. This form is generally employed by small businesses and those hiring independent contractors.

What is 1099-MISC and What are the Variants?
As a general rule, form 1099 follows the above description. 1099-MISC covers all miscellaneous transactions, but there are more specific transactions that require more or less information and have been developed over the years. One of the most notable variants is 1099-INT, which is for income gained due to interest. One can imagine this is a frequently used variant. Another is SSA-1099, which is a document that reports all benefits from Social Security. 1099-R, which deals with retirement plans, and 1099-S, which is concerned with income related to real estate, is also commonly used variants. The rest are seen less often and cover things such as long term care benefits, cancellation of debt, government payments, and changes in corporate or capital structure.

Who Needs to File this Form?
There are a few guidelines to consider for filing form 1099. Firstly, as mentioned previously, anyone who has income from something other than hourly wages, a salary, or tips, must file this form. All variants of the 1099 require the total amount to be greater than $600 for filing to be necessary. Since a new form must be filed for every transaction, this number can add up quickly – especially for independent contractors and even more so for professional freelancers – this number can add up very quickly. For those freelancing through a website or some other kind of professional medium, the process may become much easier. Some websites will send a single 1099 or 1099-K (which is the same thing, just for larger amounts of money - $20,000 and above) which can be filed and returned to the IRS by the freelancer. Generally, an individual can file just one form for the year, but if a client issues a 1099 to his or her contractor for a job that resulted in payment of more than the minimum amount ($600) it must also be filled out for that specific job.

Issuance and Submission Deadlines
All 1099 forms are required to be issued on or before January 31st. This gives the individual some time to compile and submit information before the deadline, which is the end of February (meaning it is extended by a day on leap years). Regardless of when it occurred during the year, all 1099-eligible income must be reported by the end of February for that year.

Due to the Social Security and Medicare tax on income, a refund may not be received from this tax form. Nevertheless, it is an important form, as all income must be reported. The 1099 is a very easy form to follow. Any income that does not match with a client’s 1099 will be investigated, so be careful!