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How to File Taxes with IRS Form 1099-NEC

Updated for Tax Year 2022 • November 7, 2022 12:48 PM


If you receive tax form 1099-NEC for services you provide to a client as an independent contractor and the annual payments you receive total $400 or more, you'll need to file your taxes a little differently than a taxpayer who only receives regular employment income reported on a W-2.

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Key Takeaways

• When you provide $600 or more in services to a business, that client is usually required to report your earnings by issuing Form 1099-NEC.

• When you receive form 1099-NEC, it typically means you are self-employed and claim your income and deductions on your Schedule C, which you use to calculate your net profits from self-employment.

• As a self-employed person, you're required to report all of your self-employment income. If the amount you receive from your self-employed work totals $400 or more, you will likely need to pay self-employment taxes using Schedule SE.

One of the most common reasons you’d receive tax form 1099-NEC (Form 1099-MISC in prior years) is if you're self-employed and did work as an independent contractor during the previous year. The IRS refers to this as “nonemployee compensation.”

  • In most circumstances, businesses that you do work for are required to issue Form 1099-NEC when they pay you $600 or more in any year.
  • If you receive payments through online payment services such as PayPal, you might receive also form  1099-K.
  • As a self-employed person, you're required to report all of your self-employment income regardless of whether you receive a Form 1099-NEC.

The process of filing your taxes with Form 1099-NEC is a little different than if you only had income reported on a W-2. Here's some tips to help you file.

Beginning with tax year 2022, if someone receives payment for goods and/or services through a third-party payment network, their payments are required to be reported on Form 1099-K if more than $600 was processed during the year. Those payments can include income as a result of business (self-employed, independent contractor, freelance, gig-work), real estate rental, hobby sales, personal item rental or sale.

Taking deductions

One of the nice things about receiving a 1099-NEC rather than a W-2 is you can claim business deductions on your Schedule C, which you use to calculate your net profits from self-employment.

Your deductions must be for business expenses that the IRS considers ordinary and necessary for your self-employment activities.

  • An expense is ordinary if it's incurred by self-employed individuals in a similar field.
  • An expense is necessary if it's helpful to you in completing your work. An expense does not have to be essential to be necessary.

For example, the cost of computer software is likely an ordinary and necessary expense for a freelance graphic designer. On the other hand, the cost of hiring a high-end limousine to travel to clients may be helpful, but is not ordinary by tax standards.

When you use Schedule C, you will typically calculate your net profit by:

  1. Taking your total self-employment income, including those earnings not reported on a 1099-NEC, and
  2. subtracting the deductible business expenses you incur.

The final net profit figure is transferred to Form 1040 and combined with your other earnings, income and deductions to calculate your taxable income.


TurboTax Tip: As a self-employed individual, you need to complete Schedule SE to calculate the Social Security and Medicare taxes you owe, because those taxes are not withheld from your self-employment pay.


Self-employment taxes

As a self-employed individual, you have to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes yourself with your tax return rather than having them taken out of a paycheck.

  • These taxes are calculated on a Schedule SE, which you attach to your tax return.
  • The net profit reported on Schedule C is used to calculate the self-employment taxes on Schedule SE.
  • Income from investments and other non-work sources are typically not subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Estimated tax payments

One thing you’ll likely notice on your 1099-NEC forms is that your clients don’t typically withhold income tax from your payments like employers do for their employees. This is a pay-as-you-go system where employees typically pay their taxes throughout the year rather than all at once when the file their tax return. As a self-employed person you usually can't wait to pay your taxes all at once either. Instead, you may have to make up to four estimated tax payments to the IRS during the year.

The amount and frequency of your estimated payments depends on,

  • How much income you earn,
  • the tax withheld from other employment income, and
  • the method you choose to calculate your estimated taxes.

Use Form 1040-ES to figure out your estimated tax obligations.

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