Are you getting a PayPal 1099-K? You just might be. Get ready for a little extra paperwork.
I hope you keep detailed records as a home business owner because if you are issued a PayPal 1099-K, you'll need them.
It's true that you should have good records regardless, but the 1099-K is likely to cause headaches you didn't expect.
What is the 1099-K?
For the most part, people are associating the 1099-K with PayPal. However, other third-party payment processors, including the banks that process debit and credit transactions for your home business, might need to issue you a 1099-K. As a third-party payment processor, PayPal is subject to issuing the 1099-K.
The 1099-K is meant to ensure that those that do business online report their income. Third-party payment processors are required issue this form when you have at least $20,000 in transactions and 200 transactions. For the most part, if you don't meet both of those conditions, you probably won't see the 1099-K. In fact, here's what PayPal says about it:
Understand, though, that there are some states where the threshold for reporting is lower. Vermont and Massachusetts are two of those states. If you live in those states, even if you don't reach both thresholds, you could find yourself with a 1099-K.
The issuer sends a copy to the IRS, and a copy to you, for your records. Just like the 1099-MISC, the IRS gets a copy and you get a copy. So it's not exactly a PayPal 1099-K, but it is a form that many people are going to receive as a result of carrying on business through PayPal. I will be receiving one — just as I received a 1099-K last year.
Originally, businesses were going to be required to submit a reconciliation if their income didn't match the amount shown on the 1099-K. However, recognizing the burden that would place on many small and home business owners, that requirement has been done away with. But that doesn't mean that you're in the clear.
PayPal does provide a handy reconciliation file you can use to help figure things out. Whether you use PayPal's reconciliation or not, though, it's a good idea to have impeccable records. I'm always ready to cross-reference my 1099-K information with my records.
Just in case.
3 Things You Should Know about the 1099-K
It's never fun to prepare your taxes — even when you use an accountant like I do. However, it's important to be on top of things. So, as you prepare your home business taxes for the year, here are 3 things you should know:
1. Some of your income might be double-reported
There is a possibility that your income might be double-reported. This is an issue for me. At the same time, PayPal is sending out a 1099-K to the government, reporting the payments I received, some of my clients — many of whom pay through PayPal — are sending 1099-MISC forms to the IRS.
So some of my income is reported twice, and it looks like I made more than I did. As a result, I am keeping careful track of which income is double-reported.
One of my clients paid me $24,000 over the course of last year. That all came through PayPal. So, of course, now it looks like I made an extra $24,000. I like to notate which client's 1099-MISC are also included on PayPal 1099-K. You can include it in your reconciliation as well.
The problem is that my PayPal 1099-K shows that I received $109,000 through PayPal. However, about $47,000 of that is duplicated in 1099s sent to me by clients. That's put-you-in-the-next-tax-bracket money.
2. Your chargebacks and fees won't be reported
The 1099-K only reports your income from the third-party transactions. So, if there is a chargeback on a credit card transaction, or if you have had fees deducted from your PayPal income, that doesn't show up on your 1099-K.
You need to have records documenting these costs so that if you are audited, you have the proof you need to back up your claim that you paid all of what you owe. I usually take a record of my PayPal statements that show the fees and chargebacks with my own tax records for the year. You don't have to send them in with your tax return, but it helps to have them handy in the event you're audited.
And, if you live in Vermont or Massachusetts and used PayPal to sell items, if you meet a threshold, you might still get a 1099-K — even if you didn't make $20,000 and have those 200 transactions. That's no fun because it looks like business income, even though you are selling at a loss. You'll have to work with your accountant to take care of the discrepancy.
3. You should be prepared to reconcile your income with the 1099-K
Even though the requirement to submit a reconciliation to your 1099-K with your tax return has been waived, you should still be prepared.
If there is a big enough discrepancy, you might be flagged for a tax audit. If this is the case, you will want all of the records available to you, showing allowances, expenses, and fees, as well as copies of the 1099-MISC forms you have that overlap with what's reported on the 1099-K form.
Not All Your Clients Will Issue 1099s
Some of my clients aren't issuing 1099-MISC forms to me, due to the fact that they assume the PayPal 1099-K will take care of it. (Thank goodness! That's something I wish all my clients knew about the PayPal 1099-K.)
According to the instructions for the 1099-MISC, you are supposed to leave out payments handled by third-parties.
Additionally, Intuit, in its QuickBooks Support, indicates that businesses don't have to include payments made through PayPal or with a credit card, on 1099-MISC reports. (Hat tips for links from Jim at Wallet Hacks and Glen at Free From Broke.)
However, there has been a lot of confusion on this point, so, as a contractor, you still might end up with double-reported income if your clients don't realize the change.
And, if you're issuing 1099s, pay attention to the new situation. You might not actually have to send them out. That's not a bad thing. Less paperwork for you! And your contractors will thank you for not creating more headaches for them.