IMPORTANT

You’ll receive a 1099-K if you are a U.S. taxpayer and receive at least $600 in payments from your clients on Upwork in 2022. If you reach this amount, you'll receive a 1099-K from Upwork in January 2023. This does not impact your tax return for 2021.

We know taxes can be difficult, especially figuring out which forms you need. While we can’t provide you with legal or tax advice, we can clarify which documents you will receive from us.

If you're a freelancer whom the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines as a “U.S. Person” and you earn money working through Upwork, you need to report this income on your tax return even if you do not get any forms from us. However, we will send you a 1099-K if you earn $600 or more in payments from your clients on Upwork in the calendar year.

NOTE

This article applies specifically to U.S. persons. If you are not a U.S. person, you will need to complete and submit Form W-8BEN or Form W-8BEN-E to Upwork, and you are also responsible for complying with the tax laws in your own jurisdiction. For questions about what taxes you owe, you may wish to consult with a trusted tax expert or advisor — Upwork cannot provide tax advice.

Form 1099-MISC and Form 1099-NEC


Starting in tax year 2020, non-employee compensation should be reported on Form 1099-NEC instead of Form 1099-MISC. Freelancers — including those who earned $600 USD or more — will not receive a Form 1099-NEC or 1099-MISC from Upwork. Your clients are not required to send you a 1099-NEC or 1099-MISC, either.

Form 1099-K


The 1099-K form is used to report payments made to U.S. taxpayers to the IRS. If we are required to send a Form 1099-K to the IRS for you, you will also receive a copy, which may help you document your yearly income as you prepare your taxes or complete other business.

Qualifying freelancers and payments

Starting in tax year 2022, freelancers and businesses who are U.S. taxpayers and receive over $600 in gross payments during the calendar year will receive a Form 1099-K. Under the Internal Revenue Code Section 6050W, Upwork will file a Form 1099-K form with the IRS for you, and you will receive a copy of your Form 1099-K via U.S. Postal Service by January 31.

Only those who have received over $600 in gross payments will receive Form 1099-K. If you don’t meet the minimum payment threshold, you will not receive any type of 1099 form, though you are still required to report your income.

This minimum $600 is a total of all your payments on Upwork, not per contract. For example, If you work on three contracts and get paid $225 for each, you will qualify to get a Form 1099-K.

A 1099-K is a record of all payments made to you within the calendar year, not only what you withdraw. In accounting terms, this is a “gross” total rather than “net.” It includes all payments to the freelancer on all contracts. This includes fees you paid to Upwork and refunds you paid to your clients out of your Upwork payments. For example:

  • Your client paid you $25,000, but you refunded $500, $6,000, or even all $25,000. We still have to use the $25,000 total before fees and refunds for reporting to the IRS.
  • Your client paid you $100 for a contract and you paid 10% ($10) in fees to Upwork. The full $100 counts toward the 1099-K total, not the $90 in earnings that could withdraw. That means if you have $100 contracts with 250 different clients, you’ll have $25,000 in payments on your Form 1099-K.

Tip

The membership and service fees you pay to Upwork may be tax-deductible business expenses and refunds may not be considered “earnings” for tax purposes. Because the Form 1099-K is a record of payments only, what you report as income/earnings to the IRS may differ from the amount on this form.

W-2 Exceptions


Employees paid through Upwork Payroll

If you and your client agreed that you are an employee, you must be hired through Upwork Payroll. When you use the Upwork Payroll service, our staffing provider will be the employer, handle all of the withholding and payment of taxes, and provide a Form W-2.

Frequently Asked Questions

What has changed about the Form 1099-K process from 2021 to 2022?

You will now receive a Form 1099-K from Upwork if you earn a total of $600 USD or more, for any number of transactions. Prior to 2022, the IRS only required Form 1099-K for gross payments that totaled over $20,000 USD and that included more than 200 transactions.

Who will receive a Form 1099-K from Upwork?

Any U.S. taxpayer who received combined payments of at least $600 USD through the Upwork platform will receive a Form 1099-K from Upwork. You will receive this whether you received $600 from one contract or as a combined amount from several contracts.

How do I make sure that I receive my 1099-K from Upwork?

You’ll need to make sure that your tax address is up to date and that you have completed a W-9 with a valid Tax Identification Number (SSN, EIN, or ITIN). You can update this information in SettingsTax Information.

Why is it important that I ensure my tax information is updated?

Ensuring we have the correct tax residence address and tax ID on file allows us to correctly file your 1099 forms as required by the IRS, as well as send it to your correct address this upcoming tax filing season.

Plus, we are required to withhold taxes and submit them to the IRS at a pre-set tax rate if you do not provide us with a valid Tax Identification Number (SSN, EIN, or ITIN) on your W-9.

When will I receive my Form 1099-K from Upwork?

We will mail your 1099-K form by January 31st each year for the previous year’s payments. For example, you will receive your 2022 1099-K in January or February of 2023.

How will you distribute the Form 1099-K forms?

We will mail the 1099-K form to all applicable freelancers. Please ensure that your address is current and that it is a valid street address, not a P.O. Box. To update your address, go to Settings › Tax Information.

Can I view a copy of my Form 1099-K on the Upwork platform?

We plan to have these available on our platform by the end of January for users who opt in to digital receipt. However, for the 2022 tax filing season, we will also be mailing all 1099-K forms.

Does this mean I have to report my income to the IRS even if I only make a small amount on Upwork?

All income that you make on Upwork may be taxable and should be reported — that is not a change. The only change is that the income will now be documented on a Form 1099-K if you received $600 USD or more in payments.

Please consult with your tax advisor about what earnings and expenses you should claim on your taxes.

Why is the amount that Upwork deducted from my earnings for service fees included in what you reported on Form 1099-K?

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service requires Upwork to report all gross payments to freelancers on Form 1099-K. We cannot deduct the fees that you pay from what we report. Please consult your tax advisor about what earnings and expenses you should claim on your taxes.

Why are payments that I refunded to a client showing on my Form 1099-K?

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service requires Upwork to report all gross payments to freelancers on Form 1099-K. We cannot deduct refunds that you pay to clients from the total that we report. Please consult your tax advisor about what earnings and expenses you should claim on your taxes.

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