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Introducing the Essential Guide to 1099s for Wedding Photographers and Videographers

Updated: Mar 19

If you're immersed in the world of wedding photography or videography, chances are you've encountered the term "1099" but might be unsure of its significance. Fear not, as we delve into the intricacies of 1099 forms tailored specifically for professionals in this industry. So, grab a beverage of your choice, and let's unravel the mysteries of 1099s for wedding creatives.

Before we embark on this journey, it's worth noting that we'll also touch upon tax deductions, ensuring you're well-equipped to navigate the financial landscape of your business.


What exactly is a 1099?

In essence, a 1099 is a document mandated by the IRS for reporting payments made to "service providers" or "independent contractors." For wedding photographers and videographers, these service providers typically include second shooters, office landlords, and occasionally, individuals contracted for photo editing tasks.

Within the realm of 1099 forms, the one pertinent to your needs is the 1099-NEC (Non-Employee Compensation), commonly associated with independent contractors such as second photographers or associate photographers.

In essence, a 1099 is a critical tax document required by the IRS for reporting payments made to "service providers" or "independent contractors." This document serves as a means of tracking income earned by individuals who are not considered employees by the payer.

For wedding photographers and videographers, these service providers typically include second shooters, and occasionally, individuals contracted for photo editing tasks. It's an essential tool for ensuring compliance with tax regulations and accurately reporting income from various sources within the wedding photography and videography business.



Who qualifies for a 1099?

To simplify matters, let's categorize potential recipients into two distinct groups:

  1. Individuals to whom you've disbursed payments totaling $600 or more throughout the year for services rendered. These could be your second shooters or external photo editors — individuals not classified as your employees.

  2. Individuals to whom you've paid rent or lease payments for real estate or equipment. This encompasses office landlords and entities from which you've rented camera gear.

Consider this scenario:

If you've hired multiple second shooters and paid each of them $400 throughout the year, none of them would individually meet the $600 threshold required for a 1099. However, if one of your second shooters earned $900 or more in payments from your business during the tax year, you're obligated to furnish a 1099 for that specific individual.


How to obtain the necessary forms:

The IRS provides complimentary mailing of 1099 forms, with a typical processing time of approximately one to two weeks. Alternatively, you can promptly obtain these forms from various sources such as office supply stores like Staples or Office Depot, or online platforms like Amazon. It's crucial to obtain official forms to ensure compliance, as printing them online may not meet the specific paper and ink requirements set by the IRS.


Deadline and Submission:

It's crucial to remember that the deadline for submitting 1099 forms is January 31st. While this may seem daunting, rest assured that the process is manageable. Here's a simple breakdown to guide you through:

  1. Acquire blank 1099-NEC forms, along with a 1096 cover page and corresponding envelopes.

  2. Compile a list of individuals who have received $600 or more in payments from your photography business throughout the year, ensuring you have their pertinent details at hand.

  3. Complete the necessary fields on the 1099 forms accurately.

  4. Summarize and calculate the totals on the 1096 cover page.

  5. Organize the completed forms into separate piles for submission to the IRS and distribution to the recipients.

  6. Send the pile intended for the IRS to the designated address listed on the 1096 form.

  7. Provide individual copies of the forms to the relevant recipients.

  8. If required by your state, forward Copy 1 forms accordingly.





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