Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tax forms for professional writers

At the moment, I am filling out and mailing my 1099-MISC forms, and I'd like to remind my creative friends that the laws are evolving, and that any business who/which pays another individual or business more than $600 in the course of the year must send them a 1099-MISC.

Check out the IRS at

This is the cover for the package that I purchased at Staples.
One can download free forms from the IRS site, but not all forms are scannable, and some people are obliged to e-file or pay a fine, so my view is, when in doubt, send the paper.

The pack of forms sold by Staples contains 24 forms (which come with a total of 5 copies that carbon-copy the data you enter on the first page. The also include 3 1096 Transmittal forms for the filer (me).

At first, I wondered whether I really needed a pack of 24 forms. Last year, I was only required to send a 1099-MISC to my intellectual property attorney.... who didn't want it because she is with a corporation and their tax compliance is unquestionable. Some attorneys' fees are reportable.

This year, I have to send the forms to my webmaster (who also may not need it); the radio station that I pay for air time for my shows; the same IP attorney; anyone with whom I have spent more than $600 on advertising; ditto for e-book prep; ditto for foreign translations of my works. The very nice IRS agent with whom I spoke --because reading IRS instructions online makes me hyperventilate-- advised me that I might even need to send a form to my dentist, if I considered that my dental work was necessary to my ability to perform as a talk show host or to promote my books on visual media. (I am not sure that I will claim that deduction, but I may send the 1099-MISC to be on the safe side.

As you may see, you basically have to fill in your own name and address in Box 1.
Then your own EIN, TIN, or social security number if you file your business as a Schedule C.
Beside that, your victim's TIN, EIN, or SS#
Then, your victim's name. (I wrote Webmaster's name here).
In the next two boxes, your victim's address.

Box #7 (Non-employee compensation) is where you enter the amount (in excess of $600) that you paid. This is the total for the year and does not have to be broken down.

$50 a month will trigger your need to send this form, but you don't have to do it (as far as I know) for Staples, Comcast, RWA.....Payments to a corporation do not have to be reported.
Fortunately, I only pay $30 a month to MUSO for pirate fighting, so do not have to send them a 1099-MISC.

Repeat on the duplicate form below the first. Be careful not to cut the first page in half.
Mail the third and fourth pages to your victim to arrive before January 31st. Be sure to file your Copy A of Form 1099-MISC with the 1096 by February 28th.

For more detailed, more formal information, visit the IRS

I am not a tax expert. Please take my advice as encouragement to research for yourself what is the right thing to do for your circumstances.

All the best,
Rowena Cherry

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:03 PM EST

    Please tell me this is a joke, and you don't actually have to do that.