Senate Expands IRS Form 1099 Reporting Requirement to Include All Rental Property Owners

By Chris Neefus | September 28, 2010 | 4:12 PM EDT

(AP photo)

( – Millions of Americans who own rental property are in for a bit of a rude awakening, beginning in January.

Congress has presented a bill to President Obama that would expand the IRS Form 1099 reporting requirements set out in the health-care reform law to include private citizens who own rental property.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s health care law, requires that small businesses file a Form 1099-MISC with the IRS for any goods they purchase from an outside vendor valued at over $600.

But the new bill, the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act (H.R. 5297), extends the mandate to private individuals who own property from which they receive rental income. Those people would also now have to fill out paperwork reporting any expenditure they make on that property valued over $600 for the year.

Section 2101 of the bill accomplishes this by considering anyone receiving rental income as “engaged in a trade or business.”

The provision is a revenue-raising measure designed to offset other small business tax incentives and the Small Business Lending Fund Program created in the bill. It is expected to create about $2.5 billion in revenue, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the nonpartisan body that determines the budget effects of bills that Congress produces.

Ryan Ellis, tax policy director at the taxpayer advocate group Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), told that about 10 million Americans are in for a rude awakening in just three months, when they have to begin tracking all of their expenditures related to a rental property.

“There’s 10 million people who don’t know that they’re now suddenly going to be required to do this,” Ellis said. “They don’t have to issue them until January 2012 because it’s a 2011 requirement, but they’ve got to start tracking in January (2011). So I hope their internal accounting is good.”

Writing for ATR, Ellis said, “So imagine that you're renting out your starter condo. You pay a property manager, a plumber, a repairman, a locksmith, a condo association, etc. Imagine having to get a taxpayer identification number, order 1099-MISCs from the IRS, fill them out by hand, keep a copy for yourself, send a copy to each payee (from whom you had to get a tax ID number and other information), and then finally take your legitimate rental deduction. Then the IRS finds some hiccup somewhere, and you get audited -- all to placate an insane Congress.”

Repeal Fails

There has been opposition to making small businesses file 1099 statements since the original rquirement was included in the health-care bill. Much of the business community, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, spoke out against the original requirements, valued by the Joint Committee on Taxation at $17 billion, and the chorus in favor of repeal grew so loud at one point that some Democrats began to support repealing the provision.

When Senate Democrats introduced the small business bill, several amendments were introduced to try to kill the original mandate on small business -- and its expansion to private individuals contained in the small business bill. 

Ultimately, however, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) allowed the Senate to vote on only two amendments that would change the 1099 requirements -- one Republican amendment, sponsored by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) that would have stripped the 1099 requirement from law, and another supported by the White House that would have kept the mandates on business and private property owners in place, but raised the threshold for compliance from $600 to $5,000.

But both failed to gain approval, leaving the original mandate from the health-care bill in place -- and the newly expanded 1099 burden contained in the small business bill. 

Neither Majority Leader Reid and nor House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) returned requests for comments by press time.