Reporting Payments to Independent Contractors

If you pay independent contractors, you may have to file Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, to report payments for services performed for your trade or business. If the following four conditions are met, you must generally report a payment as nonemployee compensation.

  1. You made the payment to someone who is not your employee;
  2. You made the payment for services in the course of your trade or business (including government agencies and nonprofit organizations);
  3. You made the payment to an individual, partnership, estate, or in some cases, a corporation; and
  4. You made payments to the payee of at least $600 during the year.

Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income (PDF), is transmitted with Form 1096, Annual Summary and Transmittal of U.S. Information Returns (PDF), which is similar to a cover letter for your Forms 1099-MISC.

Refer to Instructions for Form 1099-MISC (PDF), General Instructions for Forms 1099, 1098, 5498, and W-2G (PDF), and Publication 1220, Specifications for Filing Form 1098, 1099, 5498 and W-2G Magnetically or Electronically (PDF), for more information.

Nonemployee compensation paid to nonresident aliens is reported on Form 1042-S, Foreign Persons' U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding (PDF), where some withholding may be required.

Similar to Form 1096, Form 1042, Annual Withholding Tax Return for U.S. Source Income of Foreign Persons (PDF), must be filed if Form 1042-S is required. For more information on withholding on payments to nonresident aliens, see Publication 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities and Publication 901, U.S. Tax Treaties.

Information Reporting Call Site

The IRS operates a centralized call site to answer questions about reporting on Form 1099 and other information returns. If you have questions related to reporting on information returns, call (866) 455-7438.