How To Generate and Issue Your Own 1099-MISC Forms

Did you as a small business pay another person or business more than $600 total in 2009 for services rendered? You may have to provide them a 1099-MISC form. There are lots of rules, see the 1099-MISC Instructions for complete details. Here’s a summary:

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires businesses (including not-for-profit organizations) to issue a Form 1099 to any individual or unincorporated business paid in excess of $600 per calendar year for services rendered. This is required whether these payments are spread out over the course of the year or are paid in one lump sum payment. The most effective way to obtain the information needed to prepare the Form 1099 is by requiring that an IRS Form W-9 be completed prior to any payment being made. The penalty for failure to file Form 1099 can be as much as 50% of the amount paid for services.

If you’ve got your own accountant or payroll service, then you can pay them to generate the proper forms and send out these 1099s. (They are supposed to be sent out to independent contractors by January 31st following the end of the tax year in which you made the payments.) But if you’re a micro-business or a one-person show and still do all your own taxes, you can easily generate a few 1099-MISCs yourself.

You can get blank forms sent to you for free from this IRS order form. You’ll need at a minimum, Form 1099-MISC and Form 1096. You cannot use the PDFs that you find online; they are only examples. The page says it may take 4-6 weeks, but I got mine in less than two weeks. If you need them faster, you can buy them from any office supply store like Staples or OfficeMax. As noted above, get a W-9 form filled out by the person you paid, and follow the directions.

Finally, if you buy TurboTax for Business (not the personal edition), the software can also generate both 1099 and W-2 forms for you.


  1. Wow, this is timely… I sent away for the forms 4 weeks ago and still haven’t received them… not sure what is up, but may have to go to an office supply store.

  2. TurboTax online will prepare and mail your 1099-misc for you. I believe it is like $2.50 per form. I think I had the option to have them mail them (which I did) or them prepare them and have me print and mail.

  3. TurboTax online definitely seems like the easiest way to go. However, I don’t see form 1096. Also, does anyone know what the ramifications of sending out these forms 2 weeks late is??

  4. This was really helpful. I am making my way into the world of small business and any info helps. So what if it’s under $600 (as mentioned)?

  5. christine says:

    I gave a business a loan on which they gave me interest for that loan. They have requested I fill out a W-9. Is that correct? I’m not a subcontractor, so I don’t get it.

  6. I used Turbo Tax and received a rejection letter from the IRS, I called the IRS and they says its Turbo Taxes forms and I call Turbo Tax and they cannot give me any answers.

  7. Thanks Jon,
    First year I’ve had to pay anyone and didn’t know about any of this.


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