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IRS Clarifies 1099-K Reporting for 2011 Taxes

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By Andrew Chow, Esq. on February 15, 2012 9:02 AM

The IRS has issued a clarification regarding the new Form 1099-K and how to report 1099-K amounts on your business taxes.

Business merchants who use third-party payment-processing companies for credit-card and e-commerce transactions should have received a Form 1099-K from each of those processing companies by Jan. 31. (This is only required for merchants with at least $20,000 in processed payments and at least 200 transactions last year.)

So how should you report the amounts from Form 1099-K on your business tax return?

For 2011 taxes only, the IRS says you do not have to separately report the amount of merchant card and third-party network payments from Form 1099-K on your tax return. The separate-reporting requirement has been deferred until next year, as the IRS and taxpayers transition to using Form 1099-K.

Instead, here's what the IRS says to do with Form 1099-K figures for 2011:

  • If you file Schedule C or Schedule E, enter "0" on the line that says "Merchant card and third party payments." Report all gross receipts as usual on the lines indicated on Schedules C and E.
  • If you file Schedule F, enter "0" on the lines for "specified" income items.
  • Items that qualify as trade or business expenses should be reported on the appropriate lines of Schedules C, E, and F.

Congress created Form 1099-K to help the IRS keep better track of electronic payments. By next year, merchants will have to compare their numbers with those reported by payment-processing companies on Form 1099-K.

But critics say Form 1099-K is too burdensome, and suggest it's not clear what happens if there's a discrepancy. Some lawmakers are pushing for a bill to scale back Form 1099-K's requirements, the website The Street reports.

The IRS' Form 1099-K requirements are somewhat confusing, and of course depend on your specific situation. You may want to consult a tax attorney to make sure your return is correctly filed.

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