What Is Form 1099-MISC: Miscellaneous Income?

Form 1099-MISC: Miscellaneous Income (or Miscellaneous Information, as it's called starting in 2021) is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form used to report certain types of miscellaneous compensation, such as rents, prizes and awards, healthcare payments, and payments to an attorney. Before the 2020 tax year, Form 1099-MISC was also used to report non-employee compensation for independent contractors, freelancers, sole proprietors, and self-employed individuals. Starting with 2020, this non-employee pay is reported on Form 1099-NEC: Nonemployee Compensation.These forms generally report business payments—not personal ones.

A 1099-MISC form is one of many in the 1099 series and among those commonly used. Taxpayers receive 1099s, including Form 1099-MISC, shortly after the end of the tax year. 

Key Takeaways

  • Form 1099-MISC is used to report miscellaneous compensation such as rents, prizes and awards, medical and healthcare payments, and payments to an attorney.
  • Until 2020, it also was used to report the income of taxpayers who are not employees, such as independent contractors, freelancers, sole-proprietors, and self-employed individuals.
  • Non-employee compensation is now reported on Form 1099-NEC.
  • A taxpayer receives a Form 1099-MISC if you paid them $10 or more in royalties, or $600 or more in other types of miscellaneous income during a calendar year.

Who Files Form 1099-MISC: Miscellaneous Income?

Form 1099-MISC: Miscellaneous Income (aka Miscellaneous Information) is completed and sent out by someone who has paid at least $10 in royalties or broker payments in lieu of dividends or tax-exempt interest to another person. It's also sent to each person to whom you paid at least $600 during the calendar year in the following categories:

  • Rents (real estate agents and property managers report rent paid to property owners, for instance, or you report the office space rent you paid)
  • Prizes and awards
  • Other income payments
  • Medical and healthcare payments (made in the course of your trade or business)
  • Crop insurance proceeds
  • Cash payments for fish (or other aquatic life) purchased from anyone who makes a living catching fish
  • Cash paid from a notional principal contract to an individual, partnership, or estate
  • Payments to an attorney
  • Any fishing boat proceeds

The form is also used to report direct sales of at least $5,000 of consumer products to a buyer for resale anywhere other than a permanent retail establishment.

The payer must send the form to the recipient by February 1, and file it with the IRS by March 1 (March 31 if filing electronically). The recipient can attach the form to their tax return.

The IRS overhauled Form 1099-MISC in 2020 and introduced a new form, called Form 1099-NEC, for non-employee compensation (which previously was reported in Box 7 of Form 1099-MISC). Payers who still need to report for tax year 2019, should make sure to use the older 2019 version of Form 1099-MISC.

How to File Form 1099-MISC: Miscellaneous Income

A multipart fillable Form 1099-MISC is available on the IRS website.

Copy A of Form 1099-MISC appears in red. This copy of the form is not intended for printing; it is for IRS use only.

The black parts of the form can be completed, downloaded, and printed:

  • Copy 1 goes to the recipient’s state tax department
  • Copy B is sent to the recipient
  • Copy 2 is sent to the recipient for their state tax return
  • Copy C is retained by the payer for record-keeping

The payer includes their name, address, and tax identification number, as well as the recipient's name, address, and Social Security Number.

The revised 1099-MISC form has different box numbers for reporting various types of payments—for instance, Rents in Box 1 and Royalties in Box 2. If applicable, you'll also fill out Box 4: Federal Income Tax Withheld and Box 16: State Tax Withheld.

2021 1099-MISC
2021 1099-MISC.

Other 1099 Forms

Here is a list of the specific 1099 forms and the purpose of each: