What is a 1099-K? And why would small business owners receive one?

The world of business is highly digital in most aspects – including finances. Gone are the days when small business owners exclusively made cash transactions.

So, you might wonder how online business transactions are tracked by the IRS. That’s where the 1099-K form comes in.

The IRS first debuted the form in 2012 to support the growing demand for online transactions for businesses (including Forms 1120, 1120-S and 1065 filers as well as self-employed taxpayers).

Like other forms in the 1099 series, the form has an important purpose – reporting credit card and third-party transactions. If that describes how your business gets paid, you should tune in as we explore the workings of the 1099-K form.

Have questions about a 1099-K you received? Get help with your small business taxes from the team at Block Advisors.

What is a 1099-K used for?

First, we’ll explore the answer to “what is a 1099-K used for?” Form 1099-K, Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions, is an IRS form. Your business uses the information on Form 1099-K when it files a tax return. Form 1099-K is issued to small business owners who had more than $20,000 and or more than 200 transactions through a payment card (credit or debit card) or third-party processor throughout a tax year – until 2021.

In 2022, the tax rules for Form 1099-K will change. The payee must be issued a Form 1099-K if the service processed more than $600 worth of payments regardless of the number of individual payments or transactions. This is a significant decrease from previous tax law and will impact many small business owners who receive payments online.

What if you don’t meet these requirements?  Even if you don’t receive a Form 1099-K because your business income from credit cards and third-party networks, you still need to report all business income you receive on your tax return.

1099-K deductions

Let’s review what expenses you can deduct from your business income when you receive credit card payments reported on 1099-K. While there may be others, here are some potential 1099-K deductions:

  1. Web hosting fees: If you have to pay an annual web hosting fee for your online shop on the web, you can deduct this.
  2. Credit card or merchant processing fees: If you pay the credit card company processing fees, these can be deducted.
  3. Internet access: Internet access for your established business entity can be deducted.
  4. Advertising costs: If there’s a cost associated with marketing your business, you can deduct this to reduce your taxable income.
  5. Home office: The small business home office deduction applies to small business owners who use part of their home exclusively and regularly for trade or business purposes. Learn more about the home office deduction.

Who sends an IRS gov Form 1099-K?

There’s not really an answer to: “how to file a 1099-K?” because technically, you don’t need to file it as a small business owner. This is the responsibility of the third-party payment processors and credit card companies. They will report the transactions through filing Form 1099-K with the IRS. You will receive a copy of the form in the mail or electronically. No action is necessary for you, the small business owner.

But, here’s an action for you: Make sure your tax statements match up with the IRS’ records.

How does the IRS audit 1099-Ks?

Over the years, the IRS has contacted taxpayers whose gross business income is less than the amount reported on the form.

The 1099-K form is one of the information statements used to find income that’s missing from tax returns. The IRS matches your return against the information statements filed under your Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Social Security number (SSN). If there’s an income mismatch, the IRS automatically sends you a notice asking for an explanation.

The IRS doesn’t require you to separately report the amount from every Form 1099-K on your return. But the IRS will question businesses with smaller-than-expected income, based on its analysis of Forms 1099-K reported to the business. In other words, based on what the IRS knows about similar businesses receiving a similar mix of payments, the IRS may audit you if it thinks that you aren’t reporting enough income from credit cards or third-party network transactions.

The IRS may not propose specific adjustments to your return based on the Form-1099 K (unless you didn’t file a business return at all (such as Schedule C) or filed one with less income than appears on the Form 1099-K). The IRS may not directly match Forms 1099-K to line items on your business return, but the IRS does contact business taxpayers when it thinks there’s a discrepancy.

How to get help with the 1099-K form

It’s critical to ensure informational returns like the 1099-K form matches up with your business’ books and records and that all sources of income and expenses are used to determine taxable income or loss. At the end of the day, it’s forms like these that help determine your business’ tax obligation.

Whether you don’t have the expertise or time to do your taxes, get help to do it right from our team of small business certified tax pros.  

File with a tax pro today.

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