How to File Income Taxes if Paid Under the Table With No 1099

by Tara Thomas ; Updated March 15, 2018
Filing Income Taxes if Paid Under the Table With No 1099

Even if you’re paid under the table with cash, you can be certain the IRS expects its cut. While there are income thresholds in place that determine at which point you must file, it is still a good idea to file taxes even if you aren’t required to do so – you may be eligible for certain tax credits and deductions. Generally, self-employed taxpayers and independent contractors receive 1099s for non-salaried work. But, if you receive income under the table from odd jobs or tips, you may still be required to file income taxes, even without a 1099.

Do I Need to Report Under the Table Income?

Under the table income is basically any income that you are paid for services rendered, but was not reported to the IRS by the person paying you. Employers must report and pay taxes on income paid to workers. If they fail to do so, you’re still on the hook with the IRS. Under the table payment can be money paid to you for a number of things such as babysitting, yard work or bartending, and is typically paid to you in cash. Because all monies paid to you for any work you complete is considered income, if the amount earned falls within certain thresholds, you must report it on your taxes – even if you’re not supplied with a 1099.

For 2017 taxes, filed in 2018, single filers under the age of 65 must file taxes when their gross income reaches $10,400 or more, and for single filers age 65 and older, the figure is $11,950. Married filing jointly taxpayers need to file once their income exceeds $20,800 if both spouses are under 65 years of age. If one spouse is under 65, and the other is 65 or older, this threshold is $22,050, while filers who are both age 65 or older have to file taxes when their income exceeds $23,300. Married filing separately couples must file when $4,050 in income is earned regardless of either spouse's age. Wage earners filing as head of household are required to file taxes at $13,400 in income under age 65, and $14,950 at age 65 and older. A qualifying widow/er with a dependent child has to file taxes at $16,750 if under age 65, and $18,000 if age 65 or older.

Am I Considered Self-Employed?

Self-employed, contract and freelance workers are also sometimes paid under the table for work they’ve completed. The rules for self-employed workers differ from those who are considered employees. Employees have taxes withheld from their paychecks by employers, while self-employed wage earners do not; they are responsible for paying these taxes themselves. If you’re self-employed, the income threshold at which you must file taxes is much lower. After earning more than $400 as self-employed, you are required to file an income tax return with the IRS. Self-employed individuals have more autonomy over how their job is performed, how much financial responsibility they have for their work and what relationship they have with the business. If you shoulder the bulk of the responsibility for the day-to-day operations of completing your job, then chances are that you are considered self-employed.

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Filing the Correct Forms

Depending upon the source of your under the table income, you will have to fill out Form 1040EZ, Form 1040A or Form 1040. Which form you use is determined by your individual tax situation. You may also need to file Form 4137 to report any income you’ve received from working such as tips, that was not reported to your employer. If you’re unsure of exactly which form to file at tax time, consulting with a tax professional, or the IRS’ website, is recommended.

About the Author

Tara Thomas has been a writer and traveler since 1997. Her articles appear in various online publications. She also has experience authoring grant proposals for a Southern California marine science laboratory, which helped her develop a lifelong interest in environmentalism. Thomas is an event planner, has a Bachelor of Science in marine biology from California State University, Long Beach, and worked as a mortgage consultant since 1998.

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