When Do 1099s Need to Be Mailed Out to Clients?

By Nicholas Smith - Updated June 05, 2017
Tax 1099 Misc form

Each year, many Americans receive income from a variety of sources. Regardless of where the income is derived, you must report it to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Form 1099 is used to account for miscellaneous income paid to independent contractors and other non-employees who perform services for others. There are a large series of 1099 forms. Therefore, make sure that you check the list of 1099 forms to figure out whether you are required to send a form in for the current tax year.


You must issue a 1099 miscellaneous income form to anyone who you have paid at least $10 in royalties to or broker payments, in lieu of dividends or tax-exempt interest, according to the IRS. Additionally, forms must be issued to those who you paid at least $600 in rent, services, awards, other income, medical bill payments, crop insurance proceeds, cash payments for aquatic life from someone in the fish business, or money paid from a notional principal contract to an individual, partnership or estate. Finally, 1099-MISC forms must be issued if gross proceeds of $600 were paid to an attorney or any fishing boat proceeds. Eight exceptions to the 1099-MISC requirement exist. Before issuing the 1099-MISC, make sure that they do not apply.

Independent Contractor Defined

The IRS defines independent contractor as self-employed workers who don't necessary have a business, but perform services. Independent contractors are not employees of the companies that they perform services for. Although the definition of employee may be difficult to define in some circumstances, it is made by reviewing who has the right to control how, when and where services are performed. Employment is not defined as your payment method, payment frequency or whether you work part-time or full-time.

Other 1099 Forms

There are other 1099 forms that may apply to your situation besides the common 1099-MISC form (see Resources). For example, the 1099-INT form is used to report income on interest received during the year. The 1099-OID is used to report all taxable gains and dividends paid to an investor during the year. Among other forms, the 1099-LTC is used to report long-term care and accelerated death benefits.

Deadline to Send to Clients

With several exceptions, 1099 forms must be sent to clients before Jan. 31 of the tax filing year. For example, if you are reporting miscellaneous income received during the 2012 tax year, recipients must physically receive the document by Jan. 31, 2013. Therefore, make sure that you complete and mail the form to the recipient in enough time so that she will receive it in time. Send the documents at least seven days before the deadline.

About the Author

Nicholas Smith has written political articles for SmithonPolitics.com, "The Daily Californian" and other publications since 2004. He is a former commissioner with the city of Berkeley, Calif. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of California-Berkeley and a Juris Doctor from St. John's University School of Law.

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