If you’re an independent contractor, just because you didn’t receive a 1099 from work you performed for a client doesn’t mean you don’t report and pay taxes on the amount. Self-employed people must keep accurate records of their income for the IRS.
You can file taxes on your self-employment income even if you don't receive a 1099. Good recordkeeping is an essential aspect of self-employment.
Minimum Amount for a 1099
When you’re not an employee, you are responsible for paying your own withholding taxes, as well as all of your Social Security and Medicare taxes. The 1099 is a reporting form, and it’s not the same as trying to file income tax without a W2, which employers use to report wages and taxes withheld to the IRS. For the self-employed, aggregate payments over $600 require a 1099. That doesn’t mean that lesser payments aren’t taxable, but the client doesn’t have to furnish a 1099 to the contractor.
Filing Taxes Without a 1099
You don’t have to file a 1099 with your income tax return, so if you don’t have the form, that’s not really a problem as long as you report the income and pay the proper amount of tax. The company you worked for should issue a 1099 if you earned more than $600, but if you don’t receive it by the end of January of the following year, contact them to see if they sent it. These forms do get lost in the mail, and since the 1099 is a triplicate form, with the company keeping a copy and sending the other copies to the contractor and the IRS, it is entirely possible that the IRS will receive its copy and you won’t, and vice versa.
It’s also possible the company doesn’t have your current mailing address. The company doesn’t have to send you another copy of the form, as in most cases you can verify the amount you earned with its accounting department. Of course, there’s a problem if your records don’t match the amount the company claims it paid you. If the amount of money a company claims it paid you doesn’t match your own records, you’ll need to discuss it with them and straighten it out.
Reporting Your Income
As an independent contractor, report your income on Schedule C of Form 1040, Profit or Loss from Business. You must pay self-employment taxes on net earnings exceeding $400. For those taxes, you must submit Schedule SE, Form 1040, the self-employment tax. If you are self-employed, you should make quarterly estimated tax payments on Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals.
A graduate of New York University, Jane Meggitt's work has appeared in dozens of publications, including PocketSense, Financial Advisor, Sapling, nj.com and The Nest.