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March 8, 2023

How to Avoid Overpaying Taxes on Your 1099

There are few people who look forward to tax season — especially when it comes to filing as a 1099 independent contractor. As an independent worker, you are responsible for state (depending where you live and do business) and federal taxes. You’re also responsible for the 15.3% self-employment tax, including Medicare and Social Security taxes that would typically be paid by your employer. That means that not only do you have to keep track of all the income you've earned throughout the year, but you also have to pay taxes on that income. 

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure that you don't overpay on taxes when filing as a 1099 independent contractor. With the proper preparation and knowledge, you can rest assured that you're paying only the taxes you owe each year.

The Basics of Taxes

Taxes are an essential part of life, whether you're an individual or a business. All income must be reported, and taxes must be paid to comply with the law. For those who make money outside of traditional employment, understanding the basics of taxes is especially important when it comes to 1099 forms. For example, freelancers and independent contractors use 1099 forms to report the amount of money they earned over a year from any clients or customers they worked with.

At its most basic level, a 1099 form is an IRS form that freelancers and independent contractors may receive from companies they work with. They document how much money has been paid to the worker during the tax year. The sender must report payments of $600 or more to the worker, so receiving 1099 means you earned at least $600 from one person or business during the year.

To fill out your taxes correctly when you have received a 1099-MISC Form (the document specifically used for miscellaneous income), you need to include certain information on the form, such as your name, address, Social Security Number (SSN), and money earned from each customer or client. It's important to note that income reported on this form is typically subject to self-employment taxes and should also be reported on your Schedule C for tax purposes.

It's vital for independent contractors and freelancers to always keep accurate records throughout the year, making filing taxes much easier when tax time rolls around. Furthermore, if there are any discrepancies between what is being reported on your 1099s versus what was deposited into your account from those clients or customers throughout the year, then it should be corrected before filing taxes via Form 1096.

Filing taxes can seem intimidating but understanding all of the major forms like 1099s helps smooth out this process — especially if you're self-employed or run a side hustle/freelance gig.

Different Types Of 1099 Forms

Many individuals, businesses, and organizations must file 1099 forms throughout the tax year. This is because 1099 forms act as a record of income that is not reported on a traditional W-2 form. Knowing the different types of 1099 forms and when you should use each can help make filing your taxes much easier.

The most commonly used 1099 form is the 1099-MISC, which reports payments made to independent contractors or self-employed individuals over $600. For example, if you paid someone to mow your lawn or build a website for your business, you would likely use this form.

Other types of 1099 forms include the 1099-INT and 1099-DIV. These are owed by those who have received income from investments, such as interest earned through bank accounts or dividends received on stocks. These must be reported to the IRS at the end of the tax year.

The 1099-G form reports certain types of government payments, like unemployment benefits. The last type of 1099 form is the 1099-R, which is used for reporting distributions from pensions or annuities, such as 401Ks or IRAs. Knowing what type of income you have may determine which version of the form you need to use for proper filing with the IRS.

Understanding and filing these documents properly can help an individual avoid penalties for late or incorrect filing with the IRS. Review all relevant information before filling out and submitting any forms so they can be completed accurately and on time.

Advantages of the Self-Employment Tax Deductions

Self-employment tax deductions can greatly reduce the money owed on your taxes, but many people don't understand or use them. By taking advantage of these deductions, you can significantly lower your tax liabilities and keep more of the money you make. Here are some of the main advantages of using self-employment tax deductions:

Lower Your Tax Bill

By utilizing self-employment deductions, you can lower the taxes you owe each year. This means more of your hard-earned money stays in your pocket instead of going to Uncle Sam.

Deduct Business Expenses

Self-employed individuals can access special business expenses that can be deducted from their tax bill. If you're running a business out of your home, for example, you may be able to deduct a portion of your rent or mortgage payments from your income taxes.

Save Money on Medical Costs

Self-employed individuals also have access to health savings accounts (HSAs), which allow them to set aside pre-tax dollars for medical care and qualifying expenses like prescription drugs or medical supplies. This can help keep costs low while allowing for greater flexibility when paying medical bills.

Simplify Tax Filing

Taking advantage of self-employed deductions makes filing taxes easier because you'll know exactly what kind of deductions are available and how much they will save you in taxes each year. This greatly simplifies the process, saving time and headaches during tax season.

Maximize Your Investment Opportunities

Self-employed deductions can help you save money and maximize your investment opportunities. By reducing the amount of taxes owed each year, more money is available to invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investments that will further increase your financial portfolio. This could mean more control over your retirement savings or other long-term goals.

How To Lower Your Self-Employed Taxable Income

Lowering your taxable income isn't always straightforward, but there are steps you can take to minimize the amount of taxes you pay.

To start, it's important to keep an eye on your business income and any related expenses throughout the year. This way, you'll have an accurate view of how much money is coming in and going out from your business. Additionally, recording all the deductions available to self-employed individuals - such as those for home office use, computer equipment and supplies, travel costs, health insurance premiums, and more - will also help reduce your taxable income.

Understanding when it might be time to switch your business structure may also prove beneficial when it comes to taxes. Filing elections such as an S corporation offer unique tax benefits that could potentially lower the amount of taxes owed at the end of the year. However, if transitioning to one of these forms would prove too complicated or costly, look into other opportunities, such as filing multiple returns or taking additional credits where applicable.

Finally, enlisting the help of an experienced financial specialist or accountant may benefit self-employed individuals seeking to reduce their overall taxable income in the long run. When meeting with a qualified professional about different strategies for minimizing taxes owed at the end of each year, make sure to discuss both short-term and long-term plans for success.

The Art of Legal Avoidance: 1099 Taxes

Taxes can be overwhelming and confusing. Whether you're a freelancer, side hustler, or business owner, 1099 taxes are something you should take seriously. However, the good news is there are ways to reduce your 1099 tax burden and make the process a little easier.

Do You Always Need to Pay Taxes on 1099?

The answer to this question is yes - you must always pay taxes on the income earned via 1099 forms. This includes any money paid for services rendered, goods sold, or investments made. To be clear, any type of income that is generated and not withheld for taxes must be reported and paid out as part of your federal and state tax responsibilities at the end of the year.

Why You Should Avoid Overpaying Taxes

It's important to avoid overpaying taxes on your 1099 earnings so that you don't leave money on the table when it comes time to file your returns. A few simple strategies can help reduce this burden and save you some money in the long run.

Tax Reduction Tricks of the Trade for 1099

From write-offs to establishing an S-Corp, here's a recap of some of the best tax reduction strategies to help 1099 workers save money and stay compliant with their federal taxes:


Write-offs are one of the most effective ways to reduce taxable income. Eligible items like office supplies, professional memberships, and travel expenses can all be deducted from your annual income and lower your taxable amount. Before deducting any item on your return, make sure it meets IRS standards.

Savings Plans

Retirement savings plans like SEP IRAs or Simple IRAs allow self-employed individuals to contribute part of their annual income into a designated account that will grow over time, providing tax benefits in current and future years. 401(k) plans are also available to sole proprietors who employ others (such as contract workers). By regularly contributing towards retirement savings plans, 1099 earners can easily pocket hundreds – if not thousands – in tax deductions yearly.

Automatic Deductions

1099 independent contractors have several tax deductions available to them that don't require itemization. These include health insurance premiums, job search expenses, and vehicle mileage deductions for business use when traveling between work sites or clients' offices. The Internal Revenue Service allows those earning a 1099 paycheck to automatically deduct certain expenses without keeping track of receipts or other documentation throughout the year.

Itemized Deductions

In addition to claiming automatic deductions on their 1040 forms, independent contractors may also take advantage of itemizing their taxes via Schedule A when filing at the end of each year, according to IRS guidelines. Itemized deductions include mortgage interest payments, charitable contributions, and medical costs (including dental) over 7% of total profits earned during the filing period. As always, taxpayers should consult with a qualified accountant before claiming any deduction on their returns.

Self-Employment Health Insurance Deductions

Self-employed individuals can deduct health insurance premiums paid toward themselves and their covered dependents from their taxable income – provided they meet certain criteria specified by the IRS, such as those under 65 years. Self-employed individuals must also be enrolled in minimum essential coverage at least nine months out of twelve months during the filing period to qualify for this deduction on their returns.

Establishing an S-Corp

Sometimes referred contracting services alone aren't enough. More ambitious entrepreneurs may choose to establish an S Corp instead. With this structure comes additional complexities around taxation and other advantages. S Corps can also help reduce the self-employment tax business owners and their employees pay. They can also be eligible to receive certain tax deductions and credits, such as the Qualified Small Business Stock deduction.

How to Get Paid with S-Corps

An S Corp is a filing election that can be paired with an entity, such as an LLC or PLLC, which provides its owners with limited liability protection, meaning that the owner's personal assets are generally not at risk if the company is sued or goes into debt. Many small business owners choose to incorporate their business as a Subchapter S (or "S Corp") to enjoy these protections and take advantage of additional tax benefits. If you're considering becoming an S Corp, here's what you need to know about getting paid through this entity type.

First, it's important to understand how incorporating as an S corp can help you save on your taxes. When you're incorporated as an S corp, you pay yourself a reasonable salary, like a W2 employee. The rest of your business's profits are considered just that, profit, and they are passed on to you, the owner, as distributions. You are only liable for self-employment tax on the salary portion of your income, not the distributions. Though it is important to note distributions are still subject to the normal state and federal tax.

Something important to note is that when setting your salary with an S corp, ensure it isn't too low. This can lead to problems with the IRS since they expect all shareholders who work for the company to be paid reasonable salaries and benefits like any other employee would be. An excessively low salary can raise red flags for the IRS and could result in hefty fines or penalties for underpaying yourself to reduce taxes owed on profits earned by your corporation. Working with a professional on this is a sound way to ensure you're maximizing tax deductions but in compliance with the IRS.

There may also be cases where it doesn't make sense for you to get an S Corp status. Properly managing your S Corp comes with additional costs, and you want to be sure that you meet a certain income threshold to ensure that the savings are greater than the costs. There are also certain limitations depending on your state. Before taking on this type of legal structure, make sure that it makes financial sense for your specific situation; consulting a CPA or similar professional may be helpful in making this determination. 

Getting paid via an S corp structure has advantages and disadvantages that small business owners should consider before incorporating their businesses as such entities. It is key to understand how it can help save on taxes while also accounting for salary requirements set forth by the IRS.


What Is a 1099 Form?

A 1099 form is an information return document used to report various types of income other than wages, salaries, and tips (for which a W-2 should be filed). Common types of income reported on 1099 include self-employment income, rent or royalty payments, and certain types of miscellaneous income.

What Types of Payments Require a 1099 Form?

Payments that require a 1099 form include self-employment income (1099-MISC), royalties or rents (1099-MISC or 1099-K), trade/barter exchange (1099-B), and other income payments such as interest or dividends (1099-INT or 1099-DIV).

How Do I Report Income From a 1099 Form on My Tax Return?

Income from a 1099 form should generally be reported on line 21 of Form 1040 for non-employee compensation or at other applicable lines for the specific type of payment received. Additionally, the payer should also provide a copy of Form 1096 with all relevant forms attached each year to accompany your tax return when filing with the IRS.

Who Is Responsible for Issuing a 1099 Form?

Generally speaking, businesses are responsible for issuing a 1099 form to individuals who have worked as independent contractors, received rent payments from leases, or earned more than $600 in gross proceeds from engaging in business transactions such as stock sales throughout the calendar year.

Are There Any Penalties for Not Filing or Submitting a 1099 Form on Time?

There may be penalties associated with failure to timely file required forms like a proper 1099 form – including civil and criminal penalties up to certain amounts depending on when it's filed and whether it was intentionally not filed. The best advice is always to submit these forms before their due dates to avoid expensive repercussions.

How Formations Services Can Help

Formations is a predictive tax management solution for the self-employed. This friendly yet powerful solution is designed specifically to help self-employed maximize their tax savings, reduce annual liability, and prevent surprises. Our solution helps our customers save over $11,000 in taxes year over year, gain visibility and control, and make better business decisions.  

If your business is considering becoming an S corp, Formations can help you complete the necessary paperwork and filing requirements, as well as provide guidance on salary payments, tax deductions and credits, bookkeeping best practices, and more.

Start Reducing Your 1099 Taxes Today

Understanding your 1099 taxes can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. With the right guidance and resources, you can ensure that your business fully complies with all federal and state regulations while also taking advantage of potential tax savings. Utilizing available resources from experts and industry professionals can help you navigate taxation requirements much easier and maximize your financial success.