Question
What's the difference between a Form W-2 and a Form 1099-MISC?
Answer

Although both of these forms are called information returns, they serve different functions.

Employers use Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, to:

  • Report wages, tips, and other compensation paid to an employee.
  • Report the employee's income and social security taxes withheld and other information.
  • Report wage and withholding information to the employee and the Social Security Administration. The Social Security Administration shares the information with the Internal Revenue Service.

Payers use Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income, to:

  • Report payments made in the course of a trade or business to a person who's not an employee or to an unincorporated business.
  • Report payments of $10 or more in gross royalties or $600 or more in rents or compensation. Report payment information to the IRS and the person or business that received the payment.