The calendar has flipped over to another year, yet the more things change, the more they stay the same. The change in tax forms isn’t much of a change, unless you don’t know there’s been a change. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

January 31 is the due date for you to mail your 1099-NEC forms to any independent contractors or freelancers you hired during 2021 for professional services in your work as a writer. I am not a tax consultant and recommend you speak to a certified professional, but I wanted to bring this deadline to your attention.

The IRS reintroduced Form 1099-NEC as the new way to report self-employment income instead of Form 1099-MISC, as has traditionally been the case. The “gig” economy of independent contractors and freelancers circumvents the traditional ways in which taxes and other federal benefits are deducted from payments to employees. Workers who are not employees are obligated to report their income to the IRS and so are those who pay them for goods and services.

If you are a writer or author who has paid independent contractors or freelancers for professional author services, then you will need to send the IRS and the contractor a 1099-NEC Form by the end of January 2022 for work in 2021. Did you hire a website designer? Writing coach? Editor? Publicist? Report payments totaling $600 or more to a nonemployee from your business to the IRS and provide a copy to the professional you paid.

If you are a writer or author who earns income as an independent contractor or a freelancer, your clients will need to send you a Form-1099 NEC. Non-employment compensation can include fees, benefits, commissions, prizes and awards. For them to complete a 1099-NEC on your non-employee compensation they paid you in 2021, you will need to submit a W-9 with your taxpayer identification number, either your SSN or your EIN.

The complete instructions are available at the IRS website here, including the link to order copies of the form to be mailed to you. The online version of these forms cannot be downloaded and printed. It is, however, possible to complete the entire procedure online if you file electronically.

January is a great month to organize your budget for the coming year after reviewing the previous 12 months expenses and income related to the work of writing. Get your taxes organized early as delays are expected according to recent news reports.

The income tax filing deadline is pushed this year to Monday, April 18, because of the Emancipation Day holiday in D.C.

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