Form 1099 Compliance For Contractors, Freelancers and Gig Workers (2024)

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Written By Adeyemi Adetilewa

“Compliance is not just about ticking boxes; it’s about creating a culture of integrity within your business.” – Andrea Bonime-Blanc.

In today’s ever-evolving business landscape, the gig economy has emerged as a powerful force, reshaping traditional employment structures. As businesses increasingly turn to gig workers and freelancers to meet their workforce needs, it becomes paramount to understand and adhere to the 1099 Form reporting requirements.

Compliance with the 1099 Form is not just a legal obligation; it is a testament to your commitment to ethical business practices. Form 1099 acts as a financial compass, navigating the intricate landscapes of independent contractor payments.

This comprehensive guide will equip businesses hiring gig workers and freelancers with the knowledge and tools necessary to stay compliant with the IRS. From deciphering the different types of Form 1099 to understanding deadlines and potential penalties, we’ll help you navigate this compliance journey with confidence.

As renowned author and entrepreneur Seth Godin aptly said:

The cost of being wrong is less than the cost of doing nothing.

Ensuring compliance with the 1099 Form is an investment in your business’s long-term success and reputation. So, let’s dive into the intricacies of the 1099 Form for contractors and unlock the path to staying compliant in the gig economy era.

What is a 1099 Form?

Before we delve in, it is crucial to understand the purpose of these forms. So what is a 1099 Form?

1099 forms are a series of IRS tax forms that are used to report payments businesses made to non-employees during the calendar year. A Form 1099 serves as a vital reporting tool for businesses hiring gig workers and freelancers. It captures the financial transactions between businesses and independent contractors, ensuring accurate income reporting to the IRS.

There are various types of 1099 forms, each with its own specific purpose.  Let’s take a closer look at some key Form 1099 variations that may need to be filed when your business works with a freelancer or independent contractor.

Form Type  Purpose
1099-NEC Reports non-employee compensation
1099-MISC Reports miscellaneous income
1099-K Report the payment card transaction or Third-party transaction


What is a 1099 Form

Understanding the 1099 Form for Contractors

What 1099 form do I use for contractors? Here are the details:

1. Form W-9

Form W-9 is a form that businesses can use to request the taxpayer identification number (TIN) and certification from a vendor or non-employee. Businesses should collect a completed Form W-9 from freelancers before making payments to them. 

This helps businesses obtain the necessary information for accurately reporting payments on Form 1099. Form W-9 requires details such as the recipient’s name, address, and taxpayer identification number (TIN), which is usually their Social Security Number (SSN) or Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Who should collect Form W-9?

As a business, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have a collected Form W-9 from each vendor or contractor with whom you engage in certain transactions.

The IRS defines specific transactions that require the collection of Form W-9, including payments for services, rents, royalties, and other types of income.


There is no specific deadline to request Form W-9 from your vendor. However, the ideal time to request Form W-9 from a vendor or contractor is before making any payments to them.

By collecting the form early on, you can rest assured you have the necessary information for accurate reporting to the IRS. It is best practice to request Form W-9 from vendors or contractors as soon as the business relationship is established or before the first payment is made.

2. Form W-8BEN

Form W-8BEN should be completed by non-U.S. individuals or foreign entities who are receiving income from U.S. sources.

If a business pays a freelancer or gig worker who is not a U.S. taxpayer, they should collect a completed Form W-8BEN from them. This form helps determine the appropriate tax treatment and withholding requirements for foreign individuals or entities.

You don’t need to file Form 1099 for the freelancers and gig workers who provide Form W-8BEN.

3. Form 1099-NEC

Form 1099-NEC is used by the business to report the non-employee compensation of at least $600 more paid to the freelancer or gig workers for the services they offered during the calendar year.

Who should file Form 1099-NEC?

Businesses that are responsible for paying wages to the non-employee are required to file Form 1099-NEC to the IRS and also send a copy of the form to the applicable recipient before the deadline.


The IRS and the recipient copies of Form 1099-NEC need to be filed before January 31, regardless of the filing method. If the deadline falls on a weekend or public holiday, the deadline automatically moves to the next business day.

Form 1099-MISC

4. Form 1099-MISC

Form 1099-MISC is used to report certain miscellaneous payments such as rent, prizes, awards, and other payments made to the individual or entity during the calendar year.

Who should file Form 1099-MISC

The business or individual is required to file Form 1099-MISC if they have made the following types of payments:

  • At least $600 for rent, prizes, awards, health insurance, gross payment to the attorney, fishing proceeds, and other income payments.
  • At least $10 in royalty payments.
  • At least $5,000 of consumer products to a buyer for resale.


Form 1099-MISC should be sent to the recipient before January 31 only if no amount was reported on box 8 or box 10. If payments were reported on box 8 or box 10, the business should send the recipient copies before February 15.

When filing a paper copy of Form 1099-MISC, the IRS deadline is February. However, if your business chooses to file the form(s) electronically, the IRS filing deadline is March 31st instead.

5. Form 1099-K

Form 1099-K is used by payment settlement entities to report commercial payments made through a payment card (Credit and debit card) or third-party network transactions (PayPal, Cashapp, etc.).

Who should file Form 1099-K

The business or individual will receive  Form 1099-K from the Payment Settlement Entities at the end of each tax year when:

  • The business receives payment through payment card transactions, i.e., Debit cards or Credit cards. 
  • Settlement of transactions made through third-party networks transactions of at least $600, regardless of the number of transactions during the calendar year.

The transaction doesn’t include any personal payments, such as payments made to friends and family.


Payment settlement entities are required to distribute the recipient copies of the Form 1099-K on or before January 31st, and they should submit a copy of the Form 1099-K to the IRS before February 28 if they choose to file paper copies.

Again, if the business chooses to file this form electronically, the deadline to do so is March 31st.  If any of the deadlines fall on a weekend or public holiday, the deadline is automatically moved to the next business day.

Potential Penalties for Late or Incorrect Filing

Nobody wants to deal with IRS penalties, so it is important to file your 1099 forms accurately and on time. Here are the potential penalties for late or incorrect filing:

  • $50 per form for filing 30 days or less after the deadline.
  • $110 per form for filing more than 30 days after the deadline but before August 1st.
  • $290 per form for filing on or after August 1 or if you fail to file altogether.

As you can see, these penalties can compound quickly, becoming an unwelcome and unnecessary issue for your business.

Form 1099-K


Staying compliant with the 1099 Form is essential for businesses hiring contractors, gig workers, and freelancers. By understanding the different types of the 1099 Form applicable to your business, adhering to filing deadlines, and implementing best practices, you can ensure 1099 compliance and mitigate the risk of penalties.

Remember, seeking professional advice and staying informed about tax regulations are key to successfully navigating the complexities of 1099 Form reporting requirements.

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