If you work as an independent contractor, you must report all your earnings on your tax return just like any employee would do. But there are a few different ways you can report your 1099-MISC earnings. If you work sporadically through the year and it is generally not your main income source you can just include the payments in the other income category line 21 on the first page of your 1040 form tax return.
If your 1099-MISC work is your main source of income throughout the year then you will be treated as self-employed by the IRS and you must report your income on line 1 of Schedule C form attached to your return.
You are also responsible to pay any Social Security and Medicare taxes, which will you calculate and file on Schedule SE.
If you are considered self-employed and receive a 1099-MISC, you have the advantage of claiming more deductions on your taxes that are related to your profession.