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W9 Contractors & 1099 Filings.

Let's talk Compliance

What is a W9 or 1099 Contractor? The general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done. (IRS definition) Notice, it said nothing about tax withholdings or payments to. We'll talk about that later.

As you all know, when you hire someone to do work for you that is not your employee, you must collect a W9 in order to file how much you paid them to the IRS.

What is a W9? It consists of:

  • Contractor's full name

  • Home address

  • Social security or EIN if filing as a business

  • Business type

  • Their birthday

It's easy to fill out and doesn't take very long. Having all of this information will allow you or me (your bookkeeper) to file the necessary 1099 and 1096 forms to the IRS.

What is a 1099? A 1099 is a form that is filed to the IRS that lets them know who you paid and how much you paid them. But most importantly, a copy is sent to your contractor so they can use it to report (to the IRS) all income received for that year. It is a required document filing and must be filed to the IRS by the end of January every year (or you'll incur late fees). Another way to be compliant.

We all know how well the IRS holds us accountable. That's exactly what the 1099 is for. Because you don't withhold taxes from the contractor's pay, the contractor is still liable to pay taxes on the income they have received. But it's not on you to pay their taxes. It's on you to file how much you paid them. What if an IRS Auditor audits your business and finds that you haven't filed all the necessary forms for contractors? There will be steep fines. STEEP fines!! They could even shut down your business until everything is found compliant. Once again, a preventable headache.

What is a 1096? A 1096 form is the form that you file to the IRS to record who you paid and how much. This form is not sent to the contractor like the 1099. It's just a simple recording which keeps you in compliance.

BEST PRACTICES: It is best practice to not pay a contractor until you've received their W9. What if they refuse to give you one? That will make if very difficult for you to file the 1099/1096 to the IRS and this will put you out of compliance. This could create a preventable headache for you.

Good News! Your 1099/1096 filings are part of the bookkeeping services I provide for you. Really, all you have to do is give me the contractors email address and I will do the rest.


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