I'm in a group of freelancers, we've not formed a company. We've been offered a paying job, which we'll work on together to complete. The work will be paid for in advance, in the form of a retainer. Typically when working alone, I would just accept the payment and file a 1099 for the client at tax time.
In this situation, it seems like one person would have to accept the retainer payment, then act as "bank" to distribute the funds when each person does work on the project. My understanding is that the person acting as "bank" might be on the hook for the taxes of the entire retainer (especially if there is still money in the retainer at the end of the year), since according the the client's taxes, the individual is the one that was paid, not each person in the group.
Is the "bank" individual on the hook for the taxes? If so, how can we best avoid that? (without requiring the client to act as bank, or make multiple payments to each of us).
If it matters, this particular client is from outside the United States, but we'd like this problem solved for domestic clients as well.
I'm looking for something similar to this answer but for multiple people.