A 1099 is one of many tax forms known as "information returns" in IRS parlance. An information return is a document businesses must use to file certain business transactions with the IRS. In addition to being filed with the IRS information returns, such as the 1099, must also be sent to individual recipients, who must include the income shown on their own tax returns. There are many types of 1099s, but they all show some form of income being paid from a one individual or business to another.
If you receive any stock distribution payments, such as dividends, you should also receive a Form 1099-DIV from the paying company. For 1099 purposes, the distributions must be stock dividends, capital gain distributions, nontaxable distributions, or liquidation distributions paid on stock. The minimum amount that must be paid to trigger a 1099 is $10, or $600 in the case of liquidation distributions.
The payment of interest income is the trigger for issuing the 1099-INT. Interest payments from any source--including bonds, money market accounts, or savings accounts--require a 1099-INT to be issued, as long as the amount of interest exceeds $10.
If you receive any "miscellaneous income" over the course of the year, you will receive a 1099-MISC. Usually, 1099-MISC is issued to workers who provide services to a business but are not considered employees, such as independent contractors or consultants. However, miscellaneous income also includes rent or royalty payments, prizes or awards such as game show winnings, and gross proceeds paid to attorneys. A 1099-MISC also reports payments to fishing boat crew members, insurance payments to physicians and health organizations, crop insurance proceeds, fish purchases paid in cash for resale, and substitute dividend and tax-exempt interest payments reportable by brokers.
A 1099-R is used to report distributions of $10 or more from retirement plans. These include profit-sharing plans, any type of Individual Retirement Account (IRA), insurance contracts, or IRA recharacterizations. A 1099-R will usually specify if the reported distribution is taxable to the recipient, but sometimes this amount must be calculated by the individual taxpayer per IRS rules.
You will receive Form 1099-B if you make any brokerage transactions. These include securities sales or redemptions, futures transactions, commodities, and barter exchange transactions. Note that Form 1099-B only lists the proceeds of such transactions, and you must supply the original cost of your purchases when you compute your capital gains and losses.
Form 1099-S lists the gross proceeds from the sale or exchange of real estate, generally in the amount of $600 or more.
The 1099-A, 1099-C, 1099-MSA, 1099-LTC, 1099-OID, 1099-PATR, and 1099-G are not nearly as common as other 1099s, and list income payments from more unusual sources. Specifically, these 1099s report income from the acquisition or abandonment of secured property, cancelled debt, distributions from a medical savings account, long-term care and accelerated death benefits, original issue discount, taxable distributions from cooperatives, and certain government and qualified state tuition program payments.