Do Nonprofits Get a 1099? Understanding Tax Obligations

Do Nonprofits Get a 1099?

Navigating tax forms can be challenging for any organization, especially for nonprofits striving to maintain compliance while focusing on their mission. One question often arises for nonprofits with operations in the United States is, “Do nonprofits get a 1099?” In this blog, we’ll clarify the relationship between nonprofits and Form 1099, helping you understand when and why these forms are relevant.

Understanding the Form 1099

The Form 1099 is a document the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses to track various types of income received by individuals and entities outside of traditional employment. It’s a crucial part of the IRS’s tax reporting system, designed to ensure that taxpayers report all their income, regardless of the source.

Reporting Various Income Types

The Form 1099 reports different kinds of income not captured through traditional employment forms like the W-2. This includes income from freelance work, contract jobs, rent, interest, dividends, and other sources. Each type of income has its own specific 1099 form to ensure precise reporting.


There are several variations of the Form 1099, each serving a different purpose:

  • 1099-MISC: Used for reporting miscellaneous income, such as payments to independent contractors, rent, and prizes. It is commonly used when a business pays $600 or more to an individual for services performed.
  • 1099-NEC: Specifically reports nonemployee compensation. It’s used to report payments of $600 or more to freelancers and independent contractors.

Typical Recipients

The Form 1099 is issued to individuals and entities that receive income outside of regular employment. Typical recipients include:

  • Independent Contractors: These individuals provide services to a business but are not classified as employees. Contractors receive a 1099-NEC if they are paid $600 or more in a year.
  • Freelancers: Similar to independent contractors, freelancers work on a project-by-project basis and are issued a 1099-NEC for payments over $600.
  • Service Providers: Businesses or individuals providing various services, such as consulting, maintenance, or repair, may receive a 1099-MISC or 1099-NEC depending on the nature of the payment.

Nonprofit Tax Forms

Nonprofit organizations can apply for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which exempts them from federal income taxes. This tax-exempt status is crucial as it allows nonprofits to allocate more resources towards their mission rather than tax obligations. To maintain this status, nonprofits must adhere to specific IRS regulations and reporting requirements, ensuring they operate exclusively for their stated charitable purposes.

Key Tax Forms for Nonprofits

Nonprofit organizations are required to file specific tax forms to comply with IRS regulations and maintain their tax-exempt status. The primary forms include:

Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax

Form 990 is an annual information return that most tax-exempt organizations must file with the IRS. This form provides the IRS and the public with information about the nonprofit’s activities, governance, and financial status. It includes details on:

  • The organization’s mission and significant activities
  • Revenue and expenses
  • Compensation of key employees
  • Governance structures and policies
  • Donor information for certain contributions

Filing Form 990 ensures transparency and accountability, as it is publicly accessible and often reviewed by donors, grantmakers, and regulatory agencies.

Form 1023: Application for Recognition of Exemption

Form 1023 is the application organizations must file to obtain tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3). This comprehensive form requires detailed information about the organization’s structure, operations, and intended activities. Key components of Form 1023 include:

  • Organizational structure and bylaws
  • Descriptions of past, present, and planned activities
  • Financial data, including budgets and sources of income
  • Statements on the organization’s public charity status or private foundation classification
  • Information on the compensation of officers, directors, and key employees

The IRS approval of Form 1023 grants tax-exempt status, enabling the organization to receive tax-deductible contributions and access other nonprofit benefits.

When Do Nonprofits Receive a 1099

Nonprofits can receive a Form 1099 when they provide services or receive certain types of income. Just like any other business or individual, nonprofits must report income that meets specific criteria set by the IRS. Receiving a 1099 helps ensure that the nonprofit accurately reports its income and remains compliant with tax regulations.

Situations Where Nonprofits Receive a 1099

Nonprofits might provide a variety of services that could result in them receiving a Form 1099. Some common scenarios include:

  • Consulting Services: A nonprofit might offer consulting services to other organizations or businesses. For example, a nonprofit with expertise in environmental conservation could provide consultancy to a corporation looking to improve its sustainability practices.
  • Educational Programs: Nonprofits that run educational workshops or training sessions might receive payments from attendees or sponsoring organizations. These payments can be reported on a 1099.
  • Fundraising Events: If a nonprofit hosts a fundraising event and rents out space or services to vendors, the income received could be reported on a 1099.
  • Partnerships and Collaborations: Nonprofits may partner with businesses or other nonprofits to deliver joint programs. Payments received for their part in these collaborations might also be reported on a 1099.

Examples of Income Reported

There are several types of income that nonprofits might receive, which could be reported on different variations of the Form 1099. Some examples include:

  • Rent Payments: If a nonprofit owns property and rents it out to other businesses or individuals, the rental income might be reported on a Form 1099-MISC.
  • Prizes and Awards: Nonprofits can receive monetary prizes or awards from foundations or competitions. Such income is typically reported on a Form 1099-MISC if it meets the threshold amount.
  • Contract Payments: Nonprofits that enter into contracts to provide services might receive a Form 1099-NEC for nonemployee compensation if the payments exceed $600 in a year.

When Nonprofits Issue a 1099

Nonprofits must issue a Form 1099-NEC to independent contractors they hire if the payments meet specific criteria. Like any other business, nonprofits are required to report payments made for services provided by nonemployees to ensure proper tax reporting and compliance.

Situations Where Nonprofits Need to Issue a 1099

Nonprofits may need to issue a Form 1099-NEC in various situations, including:

  • Consulting Services: Hiring external consultants for expertise in areas such as fundraising, grant writing, or strategic planning.
  • Freelance Services: Engaging freelancers for tasks like graphic design, website development, or content creation.
  • Contracted Program Services: Paying contractors to run specific programs, workshops, or events on behalf of the nonprofit.
  • Maintenance and Repairs: Hiring independent contractors for building maintenance, repairs, or other facility-related services.

Requirements for Issuing the Form 1099-NEC

When nonprofits pay independent contractors, there are specific requirements to issue a Form 1099-NEC:

  • Payment Thresholds: Nonprofits must issue a Form 1099-NEC if they pay an independent contractor $600 or more in a calendar year for services performed.
  • Information Collection: Nonprofits should collect the contractor’s information, including their name, address, and Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), using Form W-9.
  • Accurate Record-Keeping: Maintaining detailed records of all payments made to contractors throughout the year is essential for accurate reporting.

Filing Deadlines and Procedures

Nonprofits must adhere to strict filing deadlines and procedures when issuing the Form 1099-NEC:

  • Filing Deadline: The deadline for sending Form 1099-NEC to contractors and filing with the IRS is January 31 of the year following the payment year.
  • Form Distribution: Nonprofits must provide a copy of the Form 1099-NEC to each contractor by January 31.
  • Filing with the IRS: Nonprofits can file the Form 1099-NEC with the IRS electronically or by mail. Electronic filing is required if issuing 250 or more forms.
  • Penalties for Noncompliance: Failure to issue a Form 1099-NEC on time can result in penalties, so it’s crucial to meet all deadlines and ensure accurate information is reported.

Addressing Common Misconceptions

Myth 1: Nonprofits Never Deal with Form 1099

One common misconception is that nonprofits are never involved with Form 1099. In reality, nonprofits, like any other organization, may need to issue or receive a Form 1099 under certain circumstances. For example, if a nonprofit hires independent contractors for various services, it must issue a Form 1099-NEC to report payments of $600 or more. Similarly, if a nonprofit provides services or earns certain types of income, it may receive a Form 1099 from the payer. Understanding these scenarios helps nonprofits stay compliant with tax regulations and ensures proper income reporting.

Myth 2: All Nonprofit Income is Exempt from Reporting

Another misconception is that all income received by a nonprofit is exempt from reporting. While nonprofits enjoy tax-exempt status for income related to their charitable activities, they must still report certain types of income. For instance, nonprofits must report unrelated business income (UBI) generated from activities not directly related to their mission on Form 990-T, and this income may be subject to taxation. Additionally, when a nonprofit receives rental income, prizes, or awards, it must report these, and the payer may issue a Form 1099. Nonprofits must differentiate between tax-exempt income and income that requires reporting to ensure full compliance.

Clarification of these Myths

  • Nonprofits and the Form 1099: Nonprofits can both issue and receive a Form 1099 depending on their activities. Issuing the Form 1099-NEC for payments to contractors and receiving the Form 1099 for certain types of income are common practices.
  • Reporting Nonprofit Income: Not all income is tax-exempt for nonprofits. Unrelated business income and other specific types of income must be reported and may be taxable. Nonprofits must file the appropriate forms, like Form 990-T, to report such income accurately.


Understanding when and why nonprofits deal with the Form 1099 is crucial for maintaining compliance and ensuring accurate income reporting. By addressing common misconceptions and following proper procedures, nonprofits can effectively manage their tax obligations and focus on their charitable missions. Stay informed and consult with tax professionals to navigate these complexities successfully.

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