I’ve spent the last several months working on a new service called WP1099.
WP1099 is a service that automates filing 1099-MISC forms for site owners who are running affiliate programs or have an online marketplace.
The idea behind WP1099
About a week or so before Pressnomics this year, I was looking at payouts for affiliates on one of my sites. While I didn’t have any affiliates who were close to requiring a form 1099 for the year, I knew that if I had an ambitious affiliate, I’d need to get them one. I looked around to see if there was a reporting plugin or another service that would handle this for me, and much to my surprise there was nothing that I could find. There were other issues that were more pressing at the moment, so I put this aside.
Fast forward a week or so, and I was talking to Andrew Norcross at the Pressnomics Speaker’s Dinner about our mutual financial backgrounds and how we somehow got into the world of development. It was there that I mentioned the 1099 issue I was thinking about a week earlier, and how surprised I was that AffiliateWP or any of the other major affiliate plugins didn’t have a reporting mechanism built in.
Andrew told me he’d bring up the idea to Pippin Williamson to see if there was a need for a reporting solution in AffiliateWP. The next day he said that Pippin would be interested in hearing about it.
Later on that day I got in touch with Pippin. He confirmed that a number of his AffiliateWP customers have asked for some sort of 1099 reporting feature. He also stated that since he wasn’t an accountant he didn’t really want to learn all the applicable laws and other issues that would come with building a solution. I can’t say I blame him.
Lucky for me, I am an accountant. 🙂
I told Pippin that since there was obviously a need for this, I’d start working on something.
Where the heck do I start?
I’ve developed plugins before, and honestly, I was starting to head in the direction of a very basic reporting plugin. One that simply showed the site owner what amounts need to be reported this tax year. Then I started looking into what types of information I’d need to include in the report. In order for the plugin to be useful, the end user needs to have a fairly decent knowledge of IRS rules.
- They would need to set up an account with the IRS in order to e-file their 1099’s if filing over a certain number.
- Paper filing requires additional paperwork.
- The boxes used on the forms can dictate the filing deadlines.
Those were just a few of the problems I ran into.
I saw so many of these variables that I realized the average site owner isn’t going to want to navigate the rules and regulations.
Jump into SaaS
I quickly scrapped the idea and headed towards working on my first SaaS project.
It was at this point I realized that I might be heading down the wrong direction. Perhaps, I needed to scrap the idea entirely. More than anything, I needed to know whether or not this was something that anyone else thought could actually work. Around this time Cory Miller was starting to offer advice through Clarity.fm. I decided to set up a call with him to see if he had any wisdom to spare for me.
He seemed to think it was a good idea and gave me the reassurance I was seeking.
For those who are keeping score, there were now three people in the WordPress community who either thought it was a good idea or at the very least saw that there was some demand for it. Three people, who have been around the WordPress world for a while now and whose opinions I value very highly.
What is WP1099?
WP1099 is an easy to use plugin that takes the hassle out of 1099-MISC reporting. It helps reduce the likelihood that you will end up facing stiff penalties from the IRS for late filing, failing to file altogether, or filing with the incorrect vendor information.
- Collect all payout information for a site’s vendors – this includes affiliates in an affiliate program and/or vendors in a marketplace.
- Request taxpayer identification information from vendors and affiliates, that is required in order to file a 1099.
- Also, includes verifying vendor’s information to help avoid IRS penalties.
- Use the above information to file a form 1099-MISC at year-end on behalf of the site owner. Filing includes:
- Filing a 1099-MISC with the IRS
- Mailing copies to vendors
- Providing copies of filed 1099’s to site owners
How much is it?
The WP1099 plugin is free to download, but requires that you pay for each 1099 filing and information request. There are volume discounts available if you purchase in bulk.
When is it available?
Officially, the service has launched today June 12, 2017. If you’re interested, go check it out at https://wp1099.com, and please share on social media if you would.
I want to say thanks to Andrew Norcross, Pippin Williamson, and Cory Miller. I don’t think I would have gone down the path of creating this service if it wasn’t for the conversations I had with each of them. This project has allowed me to grow as a developer by making a few customizations to Easy Digital Downloads. It helped me think differently about doing business. And perhaps most importantly, from those three, they showed me how to be a damn fine citizen in the WordPress community. Thanks, guys!
The above is intended as sincere thanks and does not constitute an endorsement from any of them. I’ll let them speak for themselves if they feel the service is worthy of such an endorsement.