Penalties for Failure to File or Furnish Information Returns

Tax law requires businesses to provide information returns, such a 1099s, to each payee that the business has paid $600 or more for the year.  The law also includes penalties for failure to file the same information returns with the IRS.

To ensure compliance with these requirements, there are substantial penalties, and, as part of the recently passed Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, those penalties have been doubled.  The penalties are generally based upon how late the returns are filed with the IRS or provided to the recipient of the income and are broken down into three tiers:

Tier 1 – Where the returns are filed or provided late but within 30 days of the prescribed due date.

Tier 2 – Where the returns are filed or provided more than 30 days after the prescribed due date and before August 1 of the calendar year in which the filing was required.

Tier 3 – Where the returns are filed or provided after August 1 of the calendar year in which the filing was required.

In addition, the maximum penalties for the year are based on business size determined by the business’s gross receipts.  Businesses with gross receipts of $5 million or less are subject to the small business penalty maximums.

The following table shows the penalties for information returns required to be filed in 2010 and those imposed for returns required to be filed after 2010.

In addition, the minimum penalty for each intentional failure-to-file act increases from $100 to $250.

Rental Owners Included in the Reporting Requirement Effective in 2011 –  Effective for 2011 filings due in 2012, the 2010 Small Business Act provides that solely for purposes of filing information returns, a person receiving rental income from real estate will be considered to be engaged in a trade or business of renting property.  Thus, recipients of rental income from real estate generally are subject to the same information reporting requirements as taxpayers engaged in a trade or business. In particular, rental income recipients making payments of $600 or more to a service provider (such as a plumber, painter, or accountant) in the course of earning rental income are required to provide an information return (typically Form 1099-MISC) to IRS and to the service provider. The new law does provide the IRS with the ability to permit exceptions to the filing requirement for hardship cases and when minimal rental income is received, but neither “hardship” nor “minimal” are yet defined.

In order to comply with these requirements and avoid these substantial penalties requires collecting the payee’s name, SSN number and contact information before making payment.  If you need assistance setting up a procedure for collecting the required information or filing your information returns for the year, please give this office a call.