What is the Account Number on a 1099-MISC form?

person filling out form 1099-misc

This article was last edited on 1/3/2020. For updated information on 1099-MISC account numbers, visit https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-1099. 

If you’re filing a 1099-MISC form for an independent contractor, you might be wondering what to include as the account number. The account number is a code that’s unique to the recipient and the form. 

It can be up to 20 characters long and any combination of alpha (a, b, c, etc.), numeric (1, 2, 3, etc.), and special (!, @, &, etc.) characters. 

It cannot be listed anywhere else on the form, so it cannot be a taxpayer identification number (TIN), a Social Security Number (SSN) or an employer identification number (EIN). It can, however, be a bank account, savings account, serial, loan, policy, employee ID, or unique number that you make up. 

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Do I have to include an account number?

If you’re filing multiple forms for a single person, you are required by the IRS to include a unique account number on each form. This helps the IRS match the forms if you file a correction. 

For example, if you file two 1099-MISC forms for John Doe, make sure each form has a different account number. That way, if you file a correction for one of those forms, the IRS will be able to match the account number on the corrected form to the number on the original form. 

The IRS encourages you, however, to include an account number on any 1099 form you file. They’ll include this number on any future notices they send to you, so you’ll be able to verify which recipient the notification is associated with. This is particularly important if the IRS ever sends you a notification to begin backup withholding because you’ll be able to ensure you’re withholding taxes from the right person.  

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