How to Issue a 1099 Without an SSN

by Craig Berman; Updated September 26, 2017
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People who pay others to work for them are required to include a Social Security number or tax identification number when they issue someone a 1099 form. If you don’t have that information, it’s incumbent on you to file the form anyway, even though the Internal Revenue Service may penalize you for omitting that data. File a corrected 1099 if you get that information later, or retain evidence that explains the reason you don't have it.

Issue the Forms

You have the obligation to use a 1099-MISC to record the distribution of income to an individual or business if the amount you paid exceeds the IRS thresholds for that particular income category. The penalty for failure to file can range from $30 to $100 per missed 1099, with additional penalties if the IRS assigns backup withholding. File the 1099-MISC with that box blank if you don't have the Social Security number or tax identification number.

Filing a Correction

File a corrected 1099-MISC once you get the payee's Social Security number. Fill out a new 1099-MISC with the same information as the first, adding an “X” in the “Corrected” box atop the form and changing all the money amounts to 0. Write a new 1099 with the corrected information, including the correct Social Security number. Include these documents in a letter you’ll need to write to the IRS at the Information Returns Branch, 230 Murall Drive, Mail Stop 4360, Kearneysville, WV 25430. In the letter, include your name and address, the type of error -- in this case, the lack of a Social Security number -- the tax year, your own tax identification number, the type of return, the filing method and whether federal income tax was withheld.

When It's Not Your Fault

The IRS permits the submission of a 1099 without a Social Security number or tax identification number when there's “reasonable cause” it should do so without assessing penalties. This might occur if a new worker has approval to work but hasn't been issued the necessary identifying information. In these cases, retain evidence that shows the inability to provide an Social Security number was beyond your control.

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