Form 1099-K (otherwise known as "Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions") is a tax document sent out annually by card payment processors to sellers using their services.

This form is for the payment processor to report to the IRS how much money was processed through their services and by whom. This empowers Internal Revenue to keep better tabs on the amounts taxpayers are actually earning and is an attempt to minimise the "tax gap".

The "tax gap" a term commonly used to describe amounts of unreported income not claimed as taxable income by businesses: cross checking in this way means that the IRS can know if a business is underclaiming their revenue.

What's a payment processor?

A payment processor is any company who takes and processes a payment from a customer on your behalf. You'll receive a 1099-K from Etsy if you use their Direct Checkout for your shop (and meet the minimum threshold requirements, see below for details). PayPal and Stripe are other examples of payment processors, as is any bank that provides merchant card services.

Who receives a 1099-K?

A 1099-K will usually be only sent to you if you make $20,000 or more in the taxable year, in 200 or more transactions using the same processor.

Both conditions have to apply so if you have 500 transactions with a total of $10,000 you won't receive one; neither will you if you make $40,000 with 199 transactions.

Your credit card merchant account provider is however required to file a form 1099-K for your business regardless of the volume or amount of transactions you process.

You'll usually receive 1099 forms in the mail from the end of January - exact timings depend on the schedule of your provider.

What do I do with the 1099-K?

The form itself isn't hugely useful from a sellers perspective as it's sent to you mainly to cover the tax requirements of the payment processor, however you'll need to compile them together and give them to your tax preparer to include with your Schedule C filing.

It's also wise to review the numbers to ensure that they are correct in case the payment processor has made an error in calculating your totals. In this case, you'll be wanting to contact the processor for an explanation of the total and to request a reissue of the form if it is found to be incorrect.

My 1099-K doesn't match my revenue totals!

Keep in mind when using the form to compare to your tracked revenue on Craftybase that your total revenue will not directly match the one reported on your 1099-K. This is because the "Gross sales" calculation on the 1099 usually includes a bit more than your actual order revenue: card processing fees and canceled orders are some of the amounts that will be included in the final reported tally that will not be part of your actual revenue total.