March 26, 2014

"Erroneous" Form 1099-MISC Issuance

Question:

A minister receives a Form 1099-MISC from a church for which he provided no services during the year. His current church issues him a W-2. Is the Form 1099-MISC income taxable? If yes, how should he report this on his tax return?

Answer:

It is apparent that the church in the question above distributed money to someone, otherwise no Form 1099-MISC would have been issued! There are three likely explanations for a situation of this nature:

The first possibility is actually a fairly common situation. It could be that the church that issued the Form 1099-MISC has identified him as a "missionary" and has chosen to support him financially even though he provides no services directly to that congregation. In this situation, the Form 1099-MISC income is taxable as support.

Another alternative possibility is that he received Form 1099-MISC income that he was required by contractual arrangement to pass along to his employer who is already fully compensating him. In this case, he should report the Form 1099-MISC income on Schedule C; he should then deduct an identical amount as a ministerial expense, providing the name and Employer Identification Number of the employer to whom the income was forwarded.

Finally, it may be that an erroneous Form 1099-MISC has been issued. It is not wise, no matter the situation, to ignore the matter. An individual who believes that he has received a tax document in error should request a corrected form. He may wish to consult a tax professional to ensure proper reporting and avoid undue IRS scrutiny.

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