Thursday, December 22, 2011
The New 1099 For Credit Card Reporting
It’s been over a year since we talked about the new IRS Form 1099-K. This was part of the Housing Assistance Act of 2008, and it was to – at least partially - “offset” the cost of the first homebuyer’s credit.
This is Congress passing laws, mind you, so the reporting did not apply until sales made on or after January 1, 2011. This means you may be receiving this new 1099 during the 2012 tax filing season.
Let’s talk about the “why” for this form.
Say that you are a vendor on eBay or Amazon. It used to be that eBay or Amazon did not have to send you a tax reporting form. Why would they? They did not pay you; rather, a number of buyers using eBay or Amazon paid you. Let’s use another example. Let’s say that you use PayPal or Google Checkout on your website. As a third party payment network, they did not have to report the transaction. Why would they? They did not pay you; they just processed the transaction whereby some else paid you.
This caught the attention of a Congress that has all but gone through our sofa cushions for the next thing to tax.
So, let’s say that you are selling stuff on eBay or otherwise accepting payment through PayPal. Will you receive a 1099-K? It depends. If you have sales of less than $20,000 a year or fewer than 200 transactions per year, then 1099-K reporting will not be necessary.
The look and feel of Form 1099-K is very similar to Form 1099-INT used by banks to report interest and Form 1099-DIV used to report dividends.
Are we are expecting problems with the new 1099-Ks? Oh yes. The 1099-K will include sales tax and shipping charges, for example. The 1099-K will report the gross amount of payment card and third-party network payments, so one has to be careful with the reporting of refunds. The IRS is already talking about segregating receipts on different lines of the tax forms so that they can match to the 1099-Ks. When you consider that the IRS has a computer-matching program that generates notices without the intercession of human eyes, this may well be a disaster waiting to happen.