W-9 form vs 1099-MISC comparison: what is the difference?

If the employer works with independent contractors, he has to deal with both W-9 and 1099-MISC. Sometimes the purposes of filling these two documents may be confused. So, what is the difference between them? Let’s now figure it out to make things clear.

How is W-9 form used?

W-9 is requested by employer, while it’s filled by the contractor. It’s used to get such info as vendor’s TIN, name, address, business entity type etc. It is later used for 1099-MISC, which is filled by the employer. Also, it’s not sent to IRS. There are no strict requirements when to submit the document. However, it’s a crucial thing to get the info in time to be able to fill 1099 form before the deadline.

What is 1099-MISC

The document serves independent contractors to prepare their own tax return. It includes the payment amount that was received from the employer. The form is submitted by the company that hires contractors using the information from W-9 form IRS, which was provided by the vendor. 1099-MISC is also sent to IRS. It should be completed and filed till the end of the year.

W-9 vs 1099-MISC comparison

To have a better understanding of both documents, look through the following spreadsheet.


W-9 1099-Misc
Who fills the form Vendor Employer
Is sent to IRS No Yes
Payment reports No Yes
Penalties for substantial mistakes or missing form Yes Yes
Clear deadline No Yes