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Under what circumstances would a person get a 1099 instead of a W2 from a job?

W-2s are for employees. 1099-MISC, box 7, is for an independent contractor. The difference is one of facts and law. You are not free to pick and choose which you will be.

What dictates if you even receive a form from a job at the end of a year?

W-2s are required from basically the first dollar of income. (In the back of my mind I'm thinking the threshold is $10, but I couldn't swear to it.) 1099s for non-employee compensation are generally required when a business pays more than $600 to a non-employee for services.

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