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Form 1099 vs W-9: Differentiating the Two

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The IRS requires forms that serve different purposes for taxpayers and businesses. Among these, Forms 1099 and W-9 stand out.

June 5, 2024
Author: NCH

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The United States tax system involves various forms that serve different purposes for taxpayers and businesses. Among these, Forms 1099 and W-9 hold significant importance. These forms are often used in tandem to ensure accurate reporting and compliance with tax regulations.

What Is Form 1099?

Form 1099 is an information return used to report various types of income other than wages, salaries, and tips. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires this form to help track annual income not included on an individual’s or business’ tax return. 

There are several versions of Form 1099, each serving a specific purpose:

  • Form 1099-NEC: Introduced in 2020, this form reports specific non-employee compensation. Businesses use it to report $600 or more payments to independent contractors and non-employees.
  • Form 1099-MISC: Historically used for miscellaneous income, but now mostly for rents, royalties, and other types of income not covered by 1099-NEC.
  • Form 1099-INT: Issued by banks and other financial institutions to report interest income exceeding $10.
  • Form 1099-DIV: Used to report dividends and distributions received by taxpayers from investments in stocks and mutual funds.
  • Form 1099-B: Used to report proceeds from broker and barter exchange transactions.
  • Form 1099-G: Used to report government payments such as unemployment compensation, state and local tax refunds, and taxable grants.
  • Form 1099-R: For distributions from pensions, annuities, retirement plans, or IRAs.
  • Form 1099-S: Used to report proceeds from real estate transactions.

Who Must File Form 1099?

Businesses and individuals must file Form 1099 for any contractor or service provider to whom they have paid $600 or more in a calendar year. This threshold applies to non-employee compensation, rent payments, and other types of income reported on the form. Banks and other financial institutions issue Form 1099-INT to report interest payments.

When to Issue Form 1099

The form should be issued by January 31 of the year following the tax year in which the payments were made. For example, all payments made in 2024 must be reported on a 1099 form issued by January 31, 2025. Refer to this guide if you want to issue one for an LLC.

What Is Form W-9?

Officially known as the “Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification,” Form W-9 is used to gather information needed to report income to the IRS. It collects a person’s or entity’s name, address, and taxpayer identification number (TIN), which can be a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Who Needs to Provide a Form W-9?

Form W-9 is usually provided by individuals or entities that will receive income subject to reporting on Form 1099. This includes independent contractors, freelancers, and vendors. In short, anyone receiving payments reportable to the IRS must complete and submit a W-9.

Information Collected on Form W-9

  • Name: The legal name of the individual or business entity.
  • Business Name: If different from the legal name, the business name or disregarded entity name will be used.
  • Tax Classification: Whether the entity is an individual/sole proprietor, corporation, partnership, trust/estate, or limited liability company (LLC).
  • Address: The current address where the individual or business receives mail.
  • TIN: Either the SSN for individuals or the EIN for businesses.


By signing Form W-9, the individual or business certifies that the TIN provided is correct and that they are not subject to backup withholding. Backup withholding may apply if the IRS has determined that the payee failed to report interest and dividend income on their tax return.

When to Submit Form W-9

Form W-9 must be submitted to the requester (the person or business making the payment) before receiving the income. This ensures that the payer has the necessary information to issue the correct 1099 form at the end of the tax year.

Key Differences Between Forms 1099 and W-9


As mentioned earlier, Form 1099 helps taxpayers report all taxable income. For instance, businesses issue Form 1099-MISC to independent contractors who were paid $600 or more during the tax year. This form helps the IRS track the income received by contractors and ensures they report it on their tax returns.

Form W-9 is not filed with the IRS. Instead, it is provided to the requester who needs the taxpayer’s TIN to complete information returns like Form 1099 correctly. The W-9 ensures that the income reported matches the IRS’s records, minimizing discrepancies and potential audits.

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Businesses send Form 1099 to individuals or entities that receive yearly income. This includes independent contractors, freelancers, and other non-employees who provided services and were compensated accordingly. Each type of Form 1099 is meant for specific kinds of income, so the recipient varies depending on the income type.

Individuals or entities provide Form W-9 to independent contractors, freelancers, and vendors that will be issuing an information return. By providing a completed W-9, the individual or entity ensures that the business has the necessary information to issue Form 1099.

Filing and Submission

The income recipient should get a Form 1099 from the business. For example, suppose a business pays an independent contractor $1,000 for services rendered. In that case, it must file Form 1099-MISC with the IRS and provide a copy to the contractor by January 31 of the following year.

Form W-9 is not filed with the IRS but rather completed by the taxpayer and returned to the requesting business. The business retains the form for its records and uses the information provided to prepare and file Form 1099 accurately.

Content and Structure

Form 1099 includes details about the payer, the recipient, and the income paid. It requires the payer’s name, address, and TIN, as well as the recipient’s name, address, and TIN. Additionally, it details the amount of income paid and the nature of the payment.

In contrast, Form W-9 focuses on obtaining the correct TIN from the recipient. It includes fields for the recipient’s name, business name (if applicable), address, TIN, and signature. The form also has instructions for the recipient to certify that the information provided is accurate.

The Bottomline

Both Forms 1099 and W-9 play critical roles in the tax reporting process. While the former is used to report various types of income to the IRS, the latter is used to obtain the correct TIN from income recipients. Understanding when and how to use these forms is key to compliance with tax regulations and ensuring that all income is accurately reported. 

NCH prides itself on providing exceptional corporate services to help your enterprise thrive. From incorporation and compliance to financial services and strategic planning, our team of experts will ensure your business has the support it needs to grow and succeed.

Call us at 1-800-508-1729 or visit our website to schedule your complimentary consultation. 

DISCLAIMER: The above material has been prepared for informational purposes only, containing opinions of the provider and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consider consulting tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

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