Are political contributions 1099 reportable? I am trying to get a W-9 for all new vendors prior to making any payment and I’m getting pushback from internal folks, who don’t think W-9s should be required for donations and political contributions.

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You do not have to report payments to a political campaign or other political contributions on Form 1099-MISC, because you are not making payments for services. (Neither do you have to report charitable contributions to non-profit organizations.)

Although you do not have to report these payments, you do not get to deduct them from your taxes. Political contributions are not the same as charitable contributions, which are tax deductible. According to IRS Publication 535, the following activities are considered “lobbying expenses,” which are not tax deductible:

• Influencing legislation.
• Participating in or intervening in any political campaign for, or against, any candidate for public office.
• Attempting to influence the general public, or segments of the public, about elections, legislative matters, or referendums.
• Communicating directly with covered executive branch officials in any attempt to influence the official actions or positions of those officials.
• Researching, preparing, planning, or coordinating any of the preceding activities.

See the sections entitled “Lobbying Expenses,” “Political Contributions,” and “Indirect Political Contributions” for more on the rules determining why political contributions are not tax deductible.

As for not being reportable, IRS Publication 17 states on page 94, under “Campaign Contributions,” that contributions are not considered income to the recipient, unless the funds are diverted to an individual’s personal use. Although the language does not overtly state that political contributions are not reportable on Form 1099, the purpose of Form 1099-MISC is to report income. Because campaign contributions are not income, they are not reported on Form 1099-MISC.  We confirmed this statement with IRS Information Officer Miss O’Roake (ID # 0269880). She added that political contributions are not payments for services, adding another reason why they would not be reported on Form 1099.

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