The IRS is going to have to make a few changes to the way the process tax returns because of the new health care reform law. As such, new forms are going to be introduced next year, including a new 1099-K, which requires financial firms to send clients as well as the IRS an annual run-down of every debit and credit card purchase.
According to CNN Money, the massive expansion of requirements for businesses to file 1099 tax forms that was hidden in the 2,409-page health reform bill took many by surprise when it came to light last month. But it's just one piece of a years-long legislative stealth campaign to create ways for the federal government to track down unreported income.
"It was actually something that we were following back under the Bush administration under the 2008 budget -- we started to see these kinds of rumblings about the 'tax gap' and whether or not businesses were paying their fair share," says Tom Henschke, president of the Pennsylvania-based SMC Business Councils, which was one of the first organizations to call attention to the health care amendment when it was introduced last fall. "So two administrations can claim credit for this."
The first tax-reporting expansion was buried in a different bill, the Housing Assistance Tax Act introduced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and signed into law by President George W. Bush in July 2008. Best known for its first-time homebuyers' credit, the bill also created a new addition to the family of 1099 tax forms: the 1099-K.
The 1099 is a catch-all series of IRS documents used to report non-wage income from a variety of sources like contract work, dividends, earned interest and pension distributions. The new 1099-K aims to shine a light on a currently hard-to-track payment stream: credit cards. Starting in 2011, financial firms that process credit or debit card payments will be required to send their clients, and the IRS, an annual form documenting the year's transactions.