The 1099-NEC is the form that will be needed to report independent contractor payments for calendar year starting 2020. NEC stands for Nonemployee Compensation and Form 1099-NEC is taking the place of what used to be recorded in Box 7 of Form 1099-MISC.
So who gets a 1099-NEC? Typically, this form is issued to independent contractors, janitorial services, third-party accounts and any other worker paid for services who is not on the payroll.
But like many IRS regulations, it’s not quite so simple. Let’s look at some factors that help determine whether a 1099-NEC is needed.
The first rule of thumb is that the payment must be at least $600. If it’s less than that amount, a 1099-NEC is not required and should not be issued.
Say you contract with a worker to remodel your office breakroom. The total comes to $5,000. You would likely issue a 1099-NEC in this case. But let’s say you contracted that same worker to remodel the kitchen in your home. Do you need to issue a 1099-NEC? The answer is no, because the kitchen remodeling was for personal, not business reasons.
It’s a common belief that businesses don’t need to send out 1099-NEC forms to corporations. And this is true. Sometimes.
In general, you don’t have to issue 1099-NEC forms to C Corporations and S Corporations. But there are some exceptions, including:
You can read about other exceptions, such as cash payments for fish (yes, it’s a thing) here.
You will need to send out a 1099-NEC form if you’re working with an LLC sole proprietorship. An easy way to tell? Just look at the W-9 the worker provided. If the W-9 indicates they are an LLC that is taxed as a sole proprietorship, you need to send a 1099. If their LLC is taxed as an S- or a C-Corp you do not (unless an exception applies as described above).
If you’re unsure, it’s always best to file a 1099-NEC. There’s no penalty if you file one but you didn’t need to. On the other hand, not filing one that is required can lead to hefty penalties.
And here’s a final tip: Always get the W-9 before you issue payments to any vendor who may be required to get a 1099-NEC. Less-reputable vendors might not be around when you need their information at tax time.
Note: while the 1099-NEC is taking the place of a 1099-MISC with box 7 data beginning with calendar year 2020, the 1099-MISC form is still in use for other purposes, for example, for rents, payments to attorneys, and fishing boat proceeds. For additional information on the 1099-NEC form, please see the IRS site.