Is Crowdfunding Taxable?

is crowdfunding taxable

There are obligations you should understand when dealing with the money raised from crowdfunding. In a nutshell, there are tax implications. It can be considered taxable income. But there are some exceptions to the tax law in the USA.

Confused? That’s because the platform is relatively new. And there are different ways to use crowdfunding proceeds with the different types of crowdfunding campaigns.

Read on, this article will sort everything out for you. It will deal with the issues you need to know about what are considered nontaxable gifts, how crowdfunding taxes work, and what’s considered income.

What Is Crowdfunding?

This is a way of raising money to finance businesses and projects through a crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding projects generally raise money through websites from a large number of people. There are a few different ways to generate funds. Startups use these platforms, so it’s a great way to raise money when a business begins.

Do I Have to Pay Taxes on Crowdfunding Income?

Yes and no. For tax purposes, you’ll need to raise over $20,000 and have over 200 transactions. Those gross amount thresholds are considered taxable business income. But there are other situations with no income tax consequences. Like nontaxable gifts. But it’s a good idea to make sure that you understand any gift tax limit imposed by the IRS.

When Does the IRS Consider Crowdfunded Money a Gift Instead of Taxable Income?

The Internal Revenue Service requires that everyone keep complete and accurate records when reporting crowdfunding income. The money raised might not be attached to some kind of product or service sold by the campaign. Or a benefit/reward, then it’s not taxable. Think donation to a charity or nonprofit.

Here’s another helpful hint. Taxing authorities return good records for fund distribution and fundraising. A crowdfunding organizer should maintain these for three years. They might be required for tax returns on federal income tax.

There are a few concepts you’ll need to read about . Here’s a link to some information on the IRS website that’s helpful. Taxation can come down to intention.

Gifts that are given out of charity, admiration, respect, or other like impulses fall under the banner of detached and disinterested generosity. That determines whether the money can be included in your income for donation-based crowdfunding or other types.

Crowdfunding Income Tax for Businesses

Using a crowdfunding website for things like startup costs is different. Deciding if crowdfunding donation taxable income needs to be reported depends on a few factors for a new business.

Read on to sort through what taxable business income is. And what needs another type of tax treatment, plus where crowdfunding contributions fit in.

Remember things can get complicated. Depending on the accounting method used, payments distributed through a client’s crowdfunding income need a 1099-K. But the name of the filer might not be on the form. It could list the payment processor instead. Best to get any issues with crowdfunding taxes straightened out with the tax pros. The number of filings is expected to jump in the calendar years beginning after 2021.

Business Income from Reward-based Crowdfunding

Reward-based crowdfunding helps businesses get money. It’s a popular tool. If you offer a gift or reward in return for a pledge, the money is considered taxable income. That makes it susceptible to federal tax.

Gifts can include copies of a new album if you’re a musician raising money.

Business Income from Equity-based Crowdfunding

There are rules for this type of crowdfunding. Businesses collect small sums of money from big numbers of private investors. And these investors get a financial stake in the business. This is one way to fund businesses. The pledges don’t need to be claimed as income on a tax return. Because securities are offered. The equity interest is a big draw to bring money in.

Deductions from Business Expenses

If you paid startup expenses in a certain year for your business, they might be tax-deductible. That’s good news for new businesses that are trying to raise capital. An active business can claim expenses. You might even be able to claim a business loss if your expenses are higher than your income.

Here’s some more tax advice on that subject. You raised some money in developing a product. If you wound up spending exactly that amount, your net income should be zero.

Watch out for making taxable money late in the year. You might not have any business expenses until the following year. That means the money you made is taxable income. But you can’t deduct those expenses early. Your business profits and deductions fall in different years.

State Income Tax

The IRS has thresholds. These are anything over $20,000 and/or more than 200 transactions in one calendar year. That’s when an IRS Form 1099-K is needed. Some states have different thresholds for a campaign.

How Is Crowdfunding Income Reported?

The money raised through crowdfunding needs to be reported on Form 1099-K. That’s if the gross income raised exceeds $600. Third-party network transactions and payment card transactions both need to be filed too.

The crowdfunding website and the payment processor might need to report distributions of money. Keep in mind you’ll need to look at some sales tax considerations too. Depending on where you are physically located you might need to pay sales tax. It’s best to check the Internal Revenue Code and look into any state sales tax for your tax year. Chances are you’ll be paying taxes on any successful fundraising campaign.

Are Crowdfunding Investments Tax Deductible?

Some contributions are tax-deductible. The donations made through a crowdfunding website need to be made to a registered charity. These charitable donations need to be made in a place that’s regulated by federal and state law. Tax preparers will check to see if they are a 501(c)(3) organization.

You can use crowdfunding as an option to finance medical expenses. In fact, there is research that says people are using crowdfunding for important cancer and IVF treatments.


Image: Envato Elements

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Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. Rob is a freelance journalist and content strategist/manager with three decades of experience in both print and online writing. He currently works in New York City as a copywriter and all across North America for a variety of editing and writing enterprises.

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