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I am working as an independent contractor, and my first check was made out to my personal name instead of my business/corporate name, can I sign the check over and consider it as income for the corporation, or is that illegal?

This is in the United States

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You can sign over the check, of course. However, you'll probably need to deal with 1099 issued to you personally instead of the corporation later on. You'll have to add it to your tax return as income and negative income on the same line (line 21 of your 1040) and attach a statement explaining that the income was erroneously reported to you and will be reported on the corp form 1120.

Another option is to return the check to the payer and ask them to reissue in the correct name.

Next time, make sure to provide the properly filled W9 to your payers with the details of the corporation, not your own details.

  • Note that it's much more difficult if the check was written to your business name but you haven't yet set up the business account. – keshlam May 27 '15 at 1:26

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