Where to Get W-2 Forms and 1099 Forms

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January can be a hectic time for businesses. Save yourself some stress by getting your annual payroll tax reporting forms in advance. These forms report payments you made to others and taxes withheld for the year.

Annual payroll tax report forms are used to report payments to employees, non-employees, and others. The person who receives the form must use it to report income for their tax return. These reports also go to either the IRS or Social Security Administration.

Forms for Types of Payments

To report payments to employees, you must give them Form W-2, the annual wage and tax form they will need to complete and file their income tax returns.

There are several types of 1099 forms you might need to give to someone, including:

  • Form 1099-MISC for various types of payments
  • Form 1099-NEC for payments to non-employees
  • Form 1099-B for barter exchange income
  • Form 1099-DIV for dividends and distributions
  • Form 1099-INT for interest income
  • Form 1099-K for payment card and third-party network transactions

The IRS has changed the 1099-MISC form for 2020, and Form 1099-NEC has been added. Use the 2020 1099-NEC form to report payments to non-employees, attorneys, and other businesses. Use the 2020 1099-MISC form to report payments to others, including royalties, rents, backup withholding, and prizes/awards.

When and Where to File W-2 and 1099 Forms

The deadline for giving W-2 forms to employees and 1099-NEC forms to non-employees is January 31 of the year following the tax year. 

All 1099 forms must be given to the person receiving payment. This article on types of 1099 forms has more information on when each form is due to the recipient and for filing with the IRS.

Here's where the forms must be filed:

  • W-2 forms must be filed with the Social Security Administration (SSA)
  • All types of 1099 forms must be filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Where to Get the Forms

Major office supply stores have packets of W-2 forms and 1099 forms. They might be available in your local store, or you can usually order them online.

Your local accounting firm should have these forms also. If you do not have an accounting firm, it might be time to find a good CPA or other tax professional to help you with your business taxes. An accountant can take your payroll information and file W-2 forms and 1099 forms for you in addition to helping you complete your business tax return.

Payroll software or a payroll processing service has all the information for filing W-2s and 1099 forms and they can file for you online.

You can also find W-2 and 1099 forms on some versions of business tax preparation software. Read the descriptions of what's included to be sure you can use the software to prepare these forms.

You can also order these tax forms directly from the IRS. Go to their online forms ordering page for more information. Current forms are usually available after December 1.

Where You Can't Get W-2 Forms and 1099 Forms

You cannot download W-2 forms or 1099-MISC forms from the Internet. Copy A of these forms is a specific color of red ink that cannot be duplicated.

Filing W-2 and 1099 Forms Online

You can file W-2 forms online directly with the Social Security Administration through their Business Services Online portal. 

You can file 1099 forms and other 1099 forms online with the IRS through the FIRE System (Filing Electronic Returns Electronically) online. To use this system, you must be able to create a file in the proper format; you can't use a scanned or PDF copy. If you file 250 or more information returns in a year, you must file online using the FIRE system.

Filing online is optional unless you have 250 or more forms. But this optional requirement is changing to a non-optional requirement over the next few years.

  • Starting with the 2021 tax year, if your business has 100 W-2s or 1099-MISC forms to file, you must file online.
  • For tax years after 2021, if your business has 10 or more W-2s or 1099-MISC forms to file, you must file online.

Check the Year on Forms Before You File

W-2 forms and 1099 forms include a year date. The year is marked on the forms in black lettering. The IRS instructions for all of these forms also are for a specific year.

Look for the form and instructions for the tax year you are reporting, not the year you are completing the form. Use a 2020 form when reporting payments for 2020.